Costs grow for Iraq military operations

WASHINGTON — U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Friday.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the average daily cost has been $7.5 million. He said it began at a much lower rate in June and escalated after the airstrikes in northern Iraq began this month.

After he spoke, the U.S. Central Command announced four additional airstrikes, bringing the total since they began on Aug. 8 to 110. Central Command said Friday’s missions by U.S. fighter and attack aircraft destroyed four armed vehicles and three support vehicles in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam. One armed vehicle was damaged, it said without providing more details.

Asked why U.S. warplanes are still pounding the Mosul Dam area, long after U.S. officials said local Kurdish and Iraqi forces had regained control from the Islamic State forces, Kirby said, “Because ISIL keeps wanting to take it back,” using an acronym for the group.

“They keep threatening the dam and the facility. And as long as they pose a threat to that facility, we are going to continue to help Iraqi security forces preserve their ownership of it,” he added.

The Pentagon also has security forces in Baghdad and Irbil to protect American personnel and facilities, and teams of U.S. troops are in those two cities to coordinate with Iraqi and Kurdish forces and to assess the strengths and tactics of Islamic State forces.

Kirby said the costs are being paid from the Pentagon’s 2014 overseas contingency fund. Top Pentagon officials have said they have adequate funds for the operation through September but that requests to Congress for the next budget year might have to be reconsidered if the Iraq operations intensify further.

The White House also is considering whether to extend the military campaign to include Islamic State targets inside Syria, but President Barack Obama said Thursday there was no immediate strategy to do that and played down expectations that it would happen immediately.

In a show of support for Iraq’s fledgling government, Vice President Joe Biden called Iraq’s premier-designate, Haider al-Abadi, on Friday and told him that political progress in Iraq has played a key role in rallying global support for Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State militants. The White House said the two leaders discussed security cooperation between the U.S. and Iraq as well as the need to quickly form a government inclusive of Iraq’s various sectarian groups.

More in Local News

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Shooting reported in south Everett

There were no initial reports of injuries as officers converged on a Value Village.

Most Read