'Millions' of Islamic State cash destroyed in air strike: US official

 US-led air strikes in the town of Sinjar, Iraq, in November against Islamic State militants.
US-led air strikes in the town of Sinjar, Iraq, in November against Islamic State militants.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US-led coalition air strike has destroyed a cash storage facility used by Islamic State extremists in the Iraqi city of Mosul, a US defence official said on Monday.

Two 2,000-pound (900kg) bombs struck the facility, destroying "millions" of dollars worth of cash, the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We estimate in the millions of dollars... from all their illicit stuff: oil, looting, extortion," the official said. The strike came on early Monday morning.

CNN, which first reported the strike, said the US military believed between five and seven civilians had been killed.

The US-led coalition carrying out plane and drone strikes against the IS group in Iraq and Syria has been increasingly targeting the jihadists' money-making capabilities, including by bombing trucks that ferry illicit oil across Syria.

Under pressure from critics who say the campaign is moving too slowly, the Pentagon has indicated it would consider a wider array of targets even if these might cause civilian deaths, provided these attacks yield significant gains against the terrorists.

The defence official said the coalition had targeted cash-holding facilities once or twice in the past year, but the most recent action was "probably" the biggest to date.

It was not immediately clear if the money had been in US dollars, some other foreign currency, or local dinars, the official added.