- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Iraqi forces attempting to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State group cannot claim U.S. Air Force allies failed to soften up targets.

The Oct. 16 offensive by a U.S.-led coalition to recapture Iraq’s second largest city from ISIS started with days of relentless airstrikes. Col. Daniel Manning, the deputy director of the Combined Air Operations Center, said Sunni terrorists were subjected to a thunderstorm of bombs that went off every eight minutes for three days.

“It’s a pretty intense bombing campaign if you think about each of these bombs are precision-guided weapons … so it’s a really high rate to be concentrated over one city over a prolonged period of time,” Col. Daniel Manning told Military.com, the defense website reported Nov. 5.

The officer said American B-52s have provided much of the payload in support of coalition forces.

“Frankly, we want our partners and the enemy to see the airpower [the B-52] has overhead,” Col. Manning added. “A B-52 encourages our partner force that we have their back. Being seen is actually a pretty good thing.”

Air Forces Central Command spokeswoman Kiley Dougherty told the website that 191 strikes using 1,352 weapons were conducted through Nov. 1.

ISIS forces have held Mosul since June 2014, which means they had plenty of time to dig a network of tunnels throughout the city. Experts expect the battle to take months, and Tuesday’s developments lend credence to their claims.

ISIS fighters abducted nearly 300 Iraqi Security Forces on Tuesday and lassoed 1,500 families during a tactical retreat.

“People forcibly moved or abducted, it appears, are either intended to be used as human shields or depending on their perceived affiliations killed,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The U.S.-led operation against ISIS has now entered its fourth week. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abad to told citizens via the nation’s state television on Oct. 31 that Mosul’s terrorists will “either die or surrender.”

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