US-Led Airstrike Wipes Out ISIS Cash

Bombing in Mosul destroys 'millions,' says Pentagon
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2016 11:27 AM CST
In this June 16, 2014, file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they wave the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, Iraq.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – In what CNN frames as an "extremely unusual" move, a US airstrike on Sunday reportedly destroyed a massive amount of money at an ISIS storage facility in Mosul, Iraq. It's "probably" the biggest strike against the militant group's cash sites to date, a Pentagon official tells AFP via the Guardian. "We estimate in the millions of dollars … from all their illicit stuff: oil, looting, extortion," the official says, with a US military spokesman adding that "the bulk cash distribution site was used by [ISIS] to distribute money to fund terrorist activities." Two 2,000-pound bombs were dropped on the site, and the defense officials indicate to CNN that this is likely just the first of many strikes against ISIS financial targets. It's not clear whether the money was in the form of local, US, or foreign currency, the Guardian adds.

Perhaps the most sensitive part of the strike involves civilian deaths, estimated to be between five and seven. Because it's been getting heat for not working quickly enough against ISIS, the Pentagon has indicated it would consider striking more targets, and accepting the possibility of more civilian deaths—as long as it meant the US-led coalition was reaping sufficient gains against ISIS, the Guardian reports. In this case, defense officials say that commanders were "willing to consider up to 50 civilian casualties," CNN reports, and that they purposely waited till dawn on Sunday to strike to try to keep the figure low. Meanwhile, ISIS posted a video (still not verified) on Monday allegedly showing the destruction of the site, Haaretz reports. Two local residents confirmed to Reuters that it was a bank in one of the city's eastern districts. (Maybe ISIS currency was lost.)

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