U.S. Airstrikes Target ISIS Fighters Near Key Iraqi Dam

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq targeted ISIS positions around the Haditha Dam in the restive Anbar province.
Posted at 9:01 AM, Sep 07, 2014

Saturday’s airstrikes marked the first time in its battle against ISIS the U.S. has directly intervened in Anbar province. Still, the Pentagon is dismissing the idea this has opened up a new front in its air campaign. 

HAGEL: “Consistent with what the president has said whether guidelines for any military action, to protect all the people, and critical infrastructure in Iraq.” (Video via BBC) 

The U.S. warplanes targeted ISIS positions around the Haditha Dam in Anbar province— about 150 miles from Baghdad. 

That region, of course, saw some of the heaviest fighting of the Iraq War. In recent months, ISIS has been fighting Iraqi troops and allied Shiite militias there. (Video via Euronews

The Haditha Dam still remained under control of Iraqi security forces. Pentagon officials say the Iraqis couldn’t afford to lose the dam to ISIS, which has repeatedly tried to seize it. 

The dam is strategic not only because it powers much of the country, but also because a breach could unleash massive, potentially deadly, flooding.

Foreign Policy explains if ISIS did manage to secure the dam, it could “flood farmland and disrupt drinking water supplies like it did with a smaller dam near Fallujah this spring.” 

Same goes for the Mosul Dam — Iraq’s largest hydroelectric facility.

 U.S. and Kurdish forces recaptured the dam from the insurgents through a series of airstrikes last month. (Video via U.S. Central Command

This video includes images from the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers