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Eli Lake

What the U.S. Bombed Before Ramadi Fell

The Pentagon details the damage it did to the enemy's military force.
A direct hit. But by who?

A direct hit. But by who?

Photographer: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

In the month before the city of Ramadi in western Iraq fell, U.S. air strikes destroyed an armored personnel carrier, three humvees, three tanks, four mortars, four gun-mounted pick up trucks and two vehicle bombs belonging to the Islamic State outside the city. On Friday, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Fickel, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, shared this data with me, adding that the U.S. also hit 25 "fighting positions" and 14 pieces of "miscellaneous equipment." 

Fickel told me Centcom disputed aspects of my column on Thursday, which disclosed how U.S. intelligence agencies were able to observe the Islamic State's buildup of forces and equipment prior to the decisive battle, but the Pentagon "did not order airstrikes against the convoys before the battle started." (I spoke with Centcom before publishing that column, but was not given the information Fickel has since provided.)