Iraq says its warplanes killed 28 ISIL members in eastern Syria
The Iraqi army says it has killed 28 members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, after carrying out two air strikes on eastern Syria.
Security officials told the Associated Press (AP) on Friday that F-16 fighter jets targeted a meeting of potential suicide bombers who intended to target various locations in Iraq during next week’s Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
About 20 ISIL members were killed in that airstrike, while eight died in the second.
Both targets were inside Syria, near the Iraqi border, officials said.
Iraq’s air force has carried out several strikes on ISIL-held territory in Syria since December, after Prime Minister Hyder al-Abadi declared victory over the armed group.
ISIL controlled significant portions of Iraq and Syria – at its peak, the group ruled over roughly 110,000sq km in those two countries.
By October 2017, the group’s territory had been reduced to about 10,000sq km, mostly in eastern Syria.
ISIL’s administrative capital was once in Mosul, a city in western Iraq which was freed by the Iraqi military and militias collaborating with the US-led coalition in July 2017 after an almost year-long battle.
According to an investigation by the AP late last year, between 9,000 and 11,000 people were killed in the nine-month battle, with the civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than previously reported.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies