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U.S. and coalition airstrikes against ISIS spike as Mosul, Raqqa offensives heat up
Air Force Times
By: Stephen Losey
Aircraft from the Air Force, other branches of the U.S. military and coalition nations released more than 7,000 weapons against the Islamic State in January and February — the most of any two-month stretch since Operation Inherent Resolve began more than two and a half years ago.
According to statistics posted online last week by U.S. Air Forces Central Command, the coalition released 3,600 weapons against ISIS in January and another 3,440 in February. Before this year began, the busiest month for the Air Force against ISIS was November 2015, when 3,242 weapons were released.
AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kathleen Atanasoff said in an email that part of that increase is due to the Air Force's effort to support Iraqi and other allied forces as they continue their effort to retake the strategically key cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. Iraqi soldiers, for example, have cleared ISIS from the eastern half of Mosul and are now fighting their way through the western part of the city.
Atanasoff also said that the coalition also tends to increase its airstrikes as partner forces make progress in seizing territory.
"As they move forward, clear land and find the enemy, we are able to hunt down and kill ISIS," Atanasoff said in an email Saturday.
AFCENT's statistics do not account for all coalition weapons released, however. The statistics account for weapons released by aircraft under Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC) control, Atanasoff said, which include aircraft from all U.S. military branches and coalition aircraft.