Newly confirmed Secretary of Defense James Mattis celebrated his first full day at the Pentagon by presiding over 31 strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Mattis entered the Pentagon Saturday with a smile for his first full day of work, and for good reason, considering the significant bombardment ISIS forces received. Though these kinds of strikes take weeks or even months to plan and don’t rely on the SecDef’s go ahead, Mattis is still the skipper at the Pentagon, and he now owns what action occurs at the tip of its spear.
Couldn’t have been a better first day: A variety of fighters, bombers and remotely piloted aircraft engaged in the bombing run, which saw 25 strikes in Syria and six in Iraq. In Syria, two strikes destroyed ISIS units and artillery near the town of Bab. ISIS forces in Raqqa, the terrorist group’s de facto capital, took a heavy beating, as 22 strikes destroyed 12 tactical units, nine fighting positions, two underground improvised explosive bomb factories and an ISIS headquarters. The final strike targeted two ISIS oil wells in Deir ez Zour.
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) January 21, 2017
ISIS forces in Iraq suffered several casualties as well. One strike in the city of Rutbah destroyed a tactical unit and vehicle, two weapons caches and a mortar. Another in Beiji left a unit and vehicle destroyed. A strike in Kisik destroyed a building and tactical unit. Another in Tal Afar also destroyed a unit, truck and command node. The city of Mosul, which acts as the terrorist group’s regional capital in Iraq, received two strikes, which destroyed two units, three fighting positions, a tank, and a car bomb factory.
President Donald Trump promised during his campaign that he would destroy ISIS as quickly as possible. He said on his first day in office he would convene his top generals and order them to provide a plan to eradicate ISIS once and for all within 30 days. As the new head of the Pentagon, Mattis would be expected to enact whatever plan goes forward. The former Marine general is a known critic of the Obama administration’s ISIS policy, having once referred to it as full of “half measures.”
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