by WorldTribune Staff, February 26, 2017
Iraq’s air force hit Islamic State (ISIS) targets inside Syria for the first time on Feb. 24.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the airstrikes in a statement, saying Iraqi F-16s hit the border towns of Abu Kamal and Husseibah in retaliatory strikes for recent bombings in Baghdad claimed by ISIS.
“The strikes targeted Islamic State’s headquarters used for making car bombs in Abu Kamal… after Iraqi intelligence received tips from their sources inside Syria,” a senior Iraqi security official told Reuters.
A source close to Syria’s foreign ministry said the operation had been carried out in “complete coordination” with the Damascus government.
The United States said it had also helped the Iraqis by providing intelligence.
“Yes we were aware, yes we supported it as well with information,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters. “It is a good strike, it is a valid strike, it was a strike against ISIS targets.”
The jihadist group has separately come under attack in Syria by warplanes from Russia, Turkey and a U.S.-led coalition, all of which are supporting different offensives against it in the country.
U.S. Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford are due on Feb. 27 to submit a review on the fight against ISIS that President Donald Trump commissioned from the Pentagon. Trump’s foreign policy address to Congress is scheduled for the next day.