The Washington Post reports: Iraqi and Kurdish forces claimed Monday that they ejected Islamic State fighters from a strategically vital dam in northern Iraq, after waves of U.S. airstrikes scattered the radical Islamist militants in the biggest push yet to reverse their blitz through the country.
Fighting continued on the western bank of the lake at the head of the Mosul Dam, and government troops were unable to enter the facility because it was booby-trapped by the retreating militants, officials said.
But the officials claimed that Islamic State fighters were on the run after the offensive launched by Iraqi special forces and Kurdish pesh merga fighters backed by U.S. air support on Sunday.
The U.S. military’s Central Command said the airstrikes continued Monday, with a mix of fighter jets, bombers and drones successfully conducting 15 strikes against Islamic State targets near the Mosul Dam. It said the airstrikes damaged or destroyed nine fighting positions, a checkpoint, six armed vehicles, a light armored vehicle, a vehicle-mounted antiaircraft gun and an “emplacement belt” for improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs.
“All aircraft exited the strike areas safely,” the Central Command said in a statement. It said U.S. forces have carried out a total of 68 airstrikes in Iraq since Aug. 8, of which 35 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam. [Continue reading…]