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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Iraqi air strike targets ISIS position in Syria, Abadi says

Strike took place south of the town of Deshaisha in Syria

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi (C) stands with candidates from his coalition during a campaign gathering in Baghdad's Sadr City district on May 1, 2018. Ahmed Al Rubaye / AFP
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi (C) stands with candidates from his coalition during a campaign gathering in Baghdad's Sadr City district on May 1, 2018. Ahmed Al Rubaye / AFP

Iraq’s air force launched a new strike on an ISIS position in Syria, Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi’s office said on Sunday.

The strike targeted a position used by the group’s commanders south of the town of Deshaisha, said a statement by the prime minister’s office.

The Iraqi air force has since last year carried out a number of strikes against the militant group in Syria, with the approval of the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al Assad and the US-led coalition fighting ISIS.

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Mr Al Abadi last month said he would "take all necessary measures if they threaten the security of Iraq", referring to the militants who just three years ago overran a third of the country.

The prime minister declared final victory over the ultra hardline group in December but it still poses a threat from pockets along the border with Syria and has continued to carry out ambushes, assassinations and bombings across Iraq.

Iraq has good relations with Iran and Russia, Mr Al Assad's main backers in the seven-year-old Syrian civil war, while also enjoying strong support from the US-led coalition

Mr Al Abadi ordered the "painful strike" which targeted "a meeting of ISIS commanders south of Al Deshaisha in Syrian territory", said the statement.

F-16 fighter jets were used in the early morning strike and the raid was "successful", the spokesman of Iraq's security media centre, General Yehya Rassoul, said.

Deshaisha is in a desert region of Syria's Hasakeh province, where a US-backed Kurdish-led alliance is fighting the extremists.

On April 19, Iraq said it had carried out an air raid against ISIS in Syria that killed 36 ISIS fighters, near the town of Hajin in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Iraq declared victory in December against ISIS, which launched a sweeping offensive in 2014 and at one point controlled a third of the country.

ISIS still control pockets of desert along the border with Syria.