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US drops 80,000 pounds of bombs to clear ISIS from Iraqi island

U.S. and Iraqi forces on Tuesday dropped 36,000 kg (80,000 pounds) of ordnance on an island along the Tigris river occupied by Islamic State fighters, the U.S.-led Coalition said.

U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle and F-35A Lightning II aircraft alongside Iraqi air force aircraft bombed Qanus island in Saladin province overnight in an operation to destroy a major ISIS transit hub from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour and Kirkuk in Iraq, CJTF-OIR said on September 10.

Qanus island is near the U.S. forward operating base in Qayyarah.

The 2nd Iraqi Special Operations Forces Battalion was leading ground operations in the area on Tuesday, the Coalition said.

Despite former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claiming victory over ISIS in 2017 the group has maintained sleeper cells across the country, primarily near the Syrian border but also in Kirkuk province.

The F-35A weapons payload is about 8,100 kg (18,000 lbs) while an F-15 can carry 13,380 kg (29,500 lbs).

Last September the first U.S. F-35 fighters were used in combat in a mission against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In May 2018, the Israeli military said that it had used its newly acquired F-35s in combat operations, becoming the first country to do so.

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