Iraq says air force struck dozens of IS fighters in west | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Iraq says air force struck dozens of IS fighters in west

world Updated: Dec 08, 2016 18:53 IST
AFP
Iraq

Deadly strikes in the Al-Qaim area in the west of the country were carried out by the Iraqi air force on Thursday.(Reuters File Photo)

Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said on Thursday that Iraqi aircraft struck dozens of mostly foreign fighters from the Islamic State group near the border with Syria the previous day.

It confirmed that deadly strikes in the Al-Qaim area in the west of the country were carried out by the Iraqi air force but described allegations by officials that dozens of civilians were killed as IS propaganda.

The JOC issued a statement confirming that the Iraqi air force had carried out two strikes in the jihadist-held Al-Qaim area on Wednesday, saying they targeted hideouts used by IS members.

It said the first one was conducted at 0900 GMT and struck a two-storey building housing 25 mostly foreign would-be suicide bombers, led by a fighter it named as Abu Maysar al-Kawkazi (from the Caucasus).

It said another strike was carried out during a second mission at 0955 GMT, hitting a building hosting 30 to 40 IS fighters, also mostly foreigners.

Iraqi officials, including parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi, had said on Wednesday that dozens of civilians were killed or wounded in a strike on a market area in Al-Qaim.

They blamed the government and demanded an investigation.

The JOC denied striking a market area and said a blast there was caused by a car bomb that either went off accidentally or was detonated by IS for propaganda purposes.

Amaq, an IS propaganda tool, released a video late Wednesday showing scenes of chaos in a market area, with bodies strewn across a street and wounded being treated.

Read more | Iraqi forces fight IS deep inside Mosul, but the battle is far from over