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US: Airstrike Destroys Islamic State Cash Supply

  • Ken Bredemeier

A suspected fighter with the Islamic State group in police custody in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 18, 2016.

A suspected fighter with the Islamic State group in police custody in Ramadi, 70 miles (115 kilometers) west of Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 18, 2016.

The U.S.-led coalition says its airstrikes hit an Islamic State "cash collection point" this week near IS's northern Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, destroying "tens of millions of dollars" the jihadists were using to pay their fighters.

The coalition spokesman, U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, said Wednesday that Monday's attack was the second strike in Mosul against an Islamic State financial target in as many weeks.

While Warren said the coalition does not know whether the cash was in dollars or dinars, "we do know we have impacted their ability to pay their fighters in the immediate term.

"As we strike the Daesh cash, as we call it here in Iraq, we are going to see them react to our strikes," Warren said, "whether it's storing their cash in smaller amounts, in multiple locations, or whether it's moving it more often. We don't want to tip them off to what we see."

Daesh is another Arab name for Islamic State.

Iraq said last year that Islamic State fighters looted nearly a half billion dollars from banks in Mosul and other cities as they overran the region in mid-2014, capturing vast territory in northern Iraq and northern Syria and declaring a religious caliphate in the region.

Warren said Monday's raid resulted in "some" civilian casualties, in the "single digits."

Iraqi security forces are planning an attempt to retake Mosul, but Warren said they will need "hundreds" more Western military trainers to advise them before beginning an assault.

"That's really the next step in generating the amount of combat power needed to liberate Mosul," Warren told Pentagon reporters in a video call from Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter met Wednesday in Paris with his counterparts from France, Germany, Britain, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands to plot a strategy in their fight against the militants.

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