ISIL navy under US attack

US and allied warplanes have sunk over 100 ISIS boats, destroying 65 of them in September alone, according to the international military coalition.

While Iraq is nearly entirely land-locked, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that cross that country are navigable, and ISIS has been using watercraft for a variety of purposes, including transporting fighters and conducting improvised explosive attacks.

The US-led anti-ISIS coalition provided CNN with video of a September 10 airstrike against an ISIS tactical unit aboard a boat near Bayji, Iraq.

Barges, skiffs, and motorized watercraft have been observed operating along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for the purpose of ferrying ISIS fighters and equipment across the rivers, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson Col. Joseph Scrocca told CNN, adding that it happens often when anti-ISIS Iraqi troops control the area's bridges. Coalition bombs have also targeted bridges used by ISIS, thereby further necessitating the terror group's reliance on boats.

"They have also been used by Daesh for waterborne improvised explosive device attacks," the spokesperson added, using another name for the terror group.

A US Apache attack helicopter in July destroyed one such waterborne IED, a boat full of explosives. The vessel was attempting to remove a newly built Iraqi bridge spanning the Tigris River, according to the US military.

"It destroyed the boat so it didn't go attack the bridge," US Army Col. Christopher Garver, a spokesman for the military coalition against ISIS, told reporters in August.
ISIL is likely adapting to the inability to use its fleet fo Toyota Hilux trucks which it used early on in its mechanized attacks on cities and towns.   The use of Apache attack choppers against the small boats could be a prelude to their use against the Iranian swarm attacks against the US fleet in the Persian Gulf.

Denying ISIL its use of riverine warfare is part of closing the noose around the caliphate's neck.


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