The US Significantly Escalates Airstrikes Against ISIS

Air strikeKai Pfaffenbach/ReutersTurkish Kurds watch the smoke rises from Syrian town of Kobani near the Mursitpinar border crossing, on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 18, 2014.

The US and partner nations conducted 22 airstrikes against targets held by the extremist group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq on Friday and Saturday, marking the most for a single 24-hour stretch since the US began airstrikes against the group in August.

US Central Command said Saturday that the US military and partner nations conducted the strikes in six different areas of Iraq against the group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. A breakdown:

• Three airstrikes near the northern city of Bayji, which is home to a large oil refinery, hit a large and small ISIS unit, destroyed an ISIS-held building, damaged another ISIS-held building, and destroyed two of the group’s fighting positions.

• 11 strikes total near the key strategic Mosul Dam struck four small ISIS units, two large ISIS units, destroyed an ISIS building, six ISIS fighting positions, and four ISIS staging locations.

• Four airstrikes near the city of Fallujah hit two small ISIS units, destroyed an ISIS vehicle, and destroyed an ISIS fighting position.

• Two strikes near Qurayat al Hajjaj struck a small ISIS unit and destroyed an ISIS building.

• One strike near Hayy Al Arabi destroyed an ISIS building.

• One strike near Aynzalah destroyed an ISIS building.

Central Command said all aircraft exited the areas safely.

The US also conducted an airstrike in Syria on Saturday, near the battle-heavy town of Kobani. Earlier this week, the US boosted Kurdish forces fighting ISIS militants in the key town on the Syria-Turkey border, resupplying them with weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies.

Combined, the 23 airstrikes in total were the most since late last month, shortly after airstrikes began against the group in Syria.

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