- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Washington is spending $6.8 billion, or nearly $12 million a day, to finance U.S.-led operations to drive the Islamic State from its territories in Iraq and Syria, according to the Pentagon.

As of April, American and allied fighters and bombers have carried out over 11,000 airstrikes against Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, targets in the Mideast, a Defense Department report states.

Of those 11,000 attack sorties, over 8,000 were flown by U.S. aircraft. The majority of those airstrikes were against Islamic State targets in Iraq, according to the report released Wednesday.

News of the daily price tag U.S.-led operations against the Islamic State comes as White House and Pentagon leaders are pushing more American troops and hardware into Iraq.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced Tuesday that over 200 U.S. troops backed by additional American air power and a shipment of heavy weapons would be heading to Iraq to support the government’s offensive to retake Mosul from Islamic State control.

The 217 U.S. special operations troops and military trainers heading to Mosul will be accompanied by a tranche of Army Apache attack helicopters and a long-range rocket system, Mr. Carter told reporters during a impromptu visit to Baghdad

Iraqi forces, with U.S. air support and a number of U.S.-manned “firebases,” have laid siege to areas in and around Mosul in preparation for the final push to wrest it from Islamic State control. That offensive has bogged down over the last several weeks, prompting the White House to send in reinforcements.

President Obama said the additional U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq would create an opening for Iraqi forces to take the country’s second largest city from ISIS control by the end of 2016.

“My expectation is that by the end of the year, we will have created the conditions whereby Mosul will eventually fall,” Mr. Obama said Monday in an interview with CBS News.

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