Airstrikes in Iraq, led by the U.S., killed 250 suspected ISIS fighters on the outskirts of Fallujah on Wednesday, U.S. officials told Reuters. The attack, which also reportedly destroyed 40 vehicles, is among the most deadly coalition strikes ever launched against ISIS and will help solidify significant coalition gains, including the recent retaking of the city that was the birthplace and military catalyst for the Islamist group to take control of a third of the country.
Here’s more on the recent military gains made in the fight against ISIS from the Wall Street Journal:
… [I]t took Iraqi forces less than five weeks to defeat the extremist group here, much faster than Iraqi and American officials had expected. One reason, these officials and Iraqi commanders say, was how invested Islamic State militants were in Fallujah, which made them loath to blow it up. “Fallujah was a command-and-control center,” said a senior Iraqi counterterrorism officer. “They were comfortable there. Their leadership lived there and so did their families. They could not destroy the city in the process of defending it.” Commanders said the militants had bet on repelling Iraqi forces on the outskirts of Fallujah, but struggled to adapt to the overwhelming force. The center of the city was still inhabited—one reason it wasn’t booby-trapped, as Islamic State had done in other, largely deserted urban areas they lost.
The victory in Fallujah has put the jihadi group on the retreat in its territorial battle inside Iraq and has set the stage for the next phase of the coalition forces battle in the country—retaking Mosul, ISIS’s final stronghold in Iraq.