Coalition and Iraqi forces attack ISIS sleeper cells in Hamrin Mountains

In what it described as the largest combined operation since the capture in March of Baghuz, the last Islamic State stronghold in eastern Syria, the coalition said CJTF-OIR and Iraqi forces attacked IS sleeper cells in northern Iraq on April 24.

Separately, during the aircraft’s first recognized combat use by the U.S. military, two U.S. Air Force F-35A joint fighter jets conducted an airstrike in the same area on April 30.

Combined attack at Hamrin

“Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve supported an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service attack on Daesh sleeper cells and its support base in the Wadi Ashai area of ​​northern Iraq on the 24th. April, ”the coalition said in an April 30 statement.

Wadi Ash Shai is located in the Hamrin Mountains in northern Iraq “in an area where Daesh is generally believed to be moving equipment and people in order to support its resurgence operations,” the statement said. .

In a combined operation, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve supported an Iraqi Counterterrorism Service attack on ISIS sleeper cells and a support base in the Wadi Ash Shai area in the northern Iraq, April 24, 2019.

“The CJTF-OIR destroyed several systems of tunnels, buildings, caves and command and control posts of Daesh in preparation for the Counterterrorism Service’s demining operations,” the statement said, adding that the operations “also removed several fighters from Daesh from the battlefield ”.

British Royal Air Force jets appear to have been involved in the air operation. Two Typhoon multirole planes were assigned to attack six entrances to a “scattered network of Daesh caves and tunnels in the hills some 40 kilometers east-northeast of Tikrit” on April 24, the Defense Ministry said in an April 29 statement, adding that “Paveway IV guided bombs have again been successfully used by our planes to carry out this mission.”

A video was released of an airstrike.

The video shows “April 21” as the filming date, but it is listed on the US Army’s Dvids service as April 24 and 25. The Defense Post contacted the Coalition for clarification.

“The demining of the Middle Euphrates Valley in March represented a substantial loss for Daesh, but it was not the end,” said Major General Christopher Ghika, CJTF-OIR deputy stability commander . “The CTS dealt a severe blow to Daesh’s ambitions; and with this strike, they lose even more of their ability to destabilize Iraq.

US Air Force F-35A conducts first-ever air ban
A US Air Force F-35A Lightning II refuels from a KC-10 Extender over an undisclosed location during the US military’s first-ever air ban on the plane, the April 30, 2019. Image: US Air Force / Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski

First F-35 combat job by the US military

Two US Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft conducted an airstrike in Wadi Ash Shai, Iraq, in support of CJTF-OIR on April 30, US Air Forces Central Command said in a statement. communicated.

“The F-35As carried out the airstrike using joint direct attack munition to strike an entrenched ISIS tunnel network and a weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains,” the statement said.

The F-35As joined the Combined Forces Air Component Team in the United States Central Command area of ​​operations on April 15, the aircraft’s third deployment and its first in the CENTCOM area of ​​responsibility .

Later April 30, ISIS claims three personnel, including a commander, were killed and two others wounded when its fighters struck a joint Iraqi Federal Police and Hashd al-Shaabi militia (Popular Mobilization Units) foot patrol with an explosive device in the al-Fatha neighborhood of Hamrin on April 29.

The announcements come a day after ISIS released a video featuring leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, his first appearance in five years.

ISIS leader al-Baghdadi appears in first video since caliphate declaration in 2014

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