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Pentagon Says Has Killed 50,000 Islamic State Fighters Since 2014

People run in panic after a coalition airstrike hit Islamic State fighters' positions in Mosul, Iraq, last month.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting in Iraq has killed at least 50,000 Islamic State (IS) militants since 2014, Pentagon officials said on December 8.

The coalition has conducted some 16,000 air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria while training and arming local forces fighting it.

The Pentagon called the 50,000 body count a conservative estimate. Officials said their air campaign has been the best ever at avoiding civilian casualties, with the coalition using almost exclusively "smart bombs" that precisely hit targets with little collateral damage.

The coalition tally of civilians killed in its operations is 173 -- though critics say the real figure is far higher.

Officials said the coalition had diminished IS's ranks of seasoned fighters so much that the group is turning to adolescent fighters to defend Mosul and Raqqa.

"As this effort goes on with each passing day, Daesh has fewer fighters and fewer resources at their disposal," said coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorrian, using an Arabic acronym for the extremist group.

He added that IS appears to have run out of armored vehicles for carrying out suicide bomb attacks.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP