Iraq conducted its first airstrikes against the Islamic State group Sunday, the U.S. Defense Department announced. Defense spokesman Peter Cook issued a statement saying the strikes were conducted using F-16 fighters.
"The first four aircraft purchased by the government [of Iraq] were delivered to Iraq in July," Cook said, part of the continuing effort to work with the Iraqi people to degrade and defeat the terrorist group also known as ISIS or ISIL.
"Today the government of Iraq announced that Iraq has conducted its first counter-ISIL air operations using F-16 fighter aircraft. We commend the Iraqi Air Force for its successful use of this cutting edge aircraft," Cook said.
— Peter Cook (@PentagonPresSec) September 6, 2015
Iraq also is expected to take delivery later this month of four advanced jet fighters from the Czech Republic. The four T159T1 warplanes are scheduled to arrive midmonth, Hakim Zamli, head of the Iraqi parliament's defense and security committee, told Rudaw.net Sunday.
“The Iraqi military is better equipped compared to the past in terms of heavy weapons. With the arrival of these warplanes … it can be fully ready to defend itself and keep defeating ISIS on all fighting fronts,” he said.
ISIS controls a wide swath of territory in Syria and Iraq.
The U.S. coalition conducted a series of bombing missions against ISIS targets during the weekend in both Syria and Iraq. The Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said eight drone strikes targeted near Raqqa, Mar'a and Tal Abyad in Syria. In Iraq, 25 strikes hit near Haditha, Hit, Kisik, Mosul, Ramadi, Rawah, Sinjar, Sultan Abdallah and Tuz.
Heavy weapons, vehicles, tactical units and an explosives factory were among the targets destroyed.
Earlier in the day, Syria warned Britain against getting further involved in military action in Syria, saying London had overstepped international approvals. The Syrian Foreign Ministry reportedly sent letters to U.N. officials that accused the U.K. of “interference” and of leveraging its “colonialist experience,” the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.