Pentagon releases video of U.S. airstrike of ISIS bank that torched ‘millions of dollars used to pay the terror group’s fighters’
- ISIS cash depot was bombed January 11 in Mosul, Iraq, officials said
- Department of Defense released video of explosion on Friday
- Amount of money destroyed and what currency not known
- U.S. now plans to bomb more ‘financial targets’ to destabilize terror group
- ISIS showed off ‘gold coin making factory’ in Mosul stronghold in August
- See our full news coverage of ISIS at www.dailymail.co.uk/isis
The Department of Defense on Friday released declassified video of the major bombing of an ISIS cash depot in Iraq earlier this week.
A U.S. airstrike destroyed the building in Mosul that the terror group had been using as a bank to pay its fighters, defense officials said.
The bombing occurred on January 11, and the new video, first obtained by CNN, shows the major explosion that lit up the ground.
Officials said they did not know how much money was being kept in the depot or what currency it was in, but estimated the amount to be ‘millions’.
Boom: This is the moment the missile hit the facility, which officials said was an ISIS-run bank
US officials have not commented on how many people were killed or injured in the bombing on Sunday
The U.S. now plans to bomb more ‘financial targets’ in an attempt to destabilize the terror group
Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of the U.S. Central Command, told CNN: ‘It was a good strike. And we estimate that it served to deprive ISIL of millions of dollars.
‘And combined with all of the other strikes that we’ve done on ISIL’s gas and oil production and distribution capabilities and strikes against his economic infrastructure and the various sources of revenue, you can bet that (it) is feeling the strain on his checkbook.’
Austin said that this is not the first strike on an ISIS cash storage site.
‘ISIL needs those funds to pay their fighters, to recruit new fighters and to conduct their various maligned activities,’ he said.
‘You know, we said from the outset of this campaign that to defeat ISIL, we’re going to have to take away its ability to resource’ itself.
ISIS released a propaganda video in August which claimed the terror group had smelted its own gold coins to pay its fighters
The U.S. considers Mosul, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made one of his few public statements to declare its so-called caliphate, as a very sensitive target because extremists mingle with civilians.
Aircraft and drones were deployed to watch the site for days after they were tipped off about an ISIS ‘cash collection and distribution point’ to avoid civilian casualties, officials told CNN.
A decision was made to strike the site at dawn on Sunday because ISIS fighters were working there overnight, and too many locals were nearby during the day.
U.S. commanders are said to have been willing to risk 50 civilian casualties due to the importance of the target.
Between five and seven people were killed in the attack, according to CNN, which did not disclose whether any civilians were harmed.
ISIS released an hour long propaganda video showing off its very own currency, in the form of small gold coins, in August.
The video, thought to have been shot in Mosul, showed gold, silver and copper coins being smelted. It is not known whether that same factory was hit by U.S. warplanes this weekend.
Despite glorifying their new currency, ISIS is still believed to use U.S. dollars and local currency to pay its fighters.
In the same video, the terror group claimed its 21-carat gold coin would weigh 4.25g and be worth around $139.
It also claimed the coin, which could never be used outside ISIS territory, would never lose its value.
In reality, residents in Mosul, Iraq’s second city, have routinely complained about food shortages since the arrival of ISIS in June 2014.
Iraq vowed to use the recapture of the ISIS held city of Ramadi, just 60 miles west of Baghdad, as a launchpad to retake the Nineveh province.
Iraq vowed to use the recapture of the ISIS held city of Ramadi (pictured), just 60 miles west of Baghdad, as a launchpad to retake the Nineveh province, home to Mosul
Ramadi was finally ‘liberated’ by 10,000 Iraqi troops who wrestled it from 300 ISIS fighters on December 28
Nineveh is home to Mosul, which is said to be the biggest city under ISIS control in either Iraq or Syria.
After a fresh operation to retake the city was launched six prior, Ramadi was finally ‘liberated’ by 10,000 Iraqi troops who wrestled it from 300 ISIS fighters on December 28.
For the first time since ISIS seized the town in May, troops were free to drive through its dusty streets, scattered with burned out vehicles and flanked on either side by decimated buildings.