Big setback for Islamic State? US destroys cash storage facility in Mosul

Washington: In its biggest such operation, the US has destroyed a cash storage facility of the Islamic State in Iraq's Mosul city where the terror group had stored "millions" to pay its operatives and for ongoing operations.

The US dropped two 2,000-pound (900-kilogramme) bombs on Sunday in central Mosul destroying the building containing huge amounts of cash, CNN quoted two American defence officials as saying.

The officials could not say exactly how much money was there or in what currency, but one described it as "millions."

Big setback for Islamic State? US destroys cash storage facility in Mosul

Islamic State fighters. Representational image. Reuters

The officials said the US plans to strike more financial targets like this one to take away IS' ability to function as a state-like entity.

This is a similar expansion to the target list as happened several weeks ago, when US warplanes began hitting IS oil trucks.

The defense official said the coalition had targeted cash-holding facilities once or twice in the past year, but Sunday's action was "probably" the biggest to date.

The US considers the Mosul strike extremely sensitive, as the building is in an area where civilians are also located, and there was a significant risk of civilian casualties.

Officials would not say how the US learned of the location. But after getting intelligence about the so-called "cash collection and distribution point," US aircraft and drones watched the site for days trying to determine when the fewest number of civilians would be in the area.

Because civilians were nearby during the daylight hours, and IS personnel were working there at night, the decision was made to strike at dawn on Sunday.

US commanders had been willing to consider up to 50 civilian casualties from the airstrike due to the importance of the target. But the initial post-attack assessment indicated that perhaps five to seven people were killed, the report said.


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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2016 17:15:05 IST

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