IS Under Fire in Syria, Iraq

IS Under Fire in Syria, IraqIS Under Fire in Syria, Iraq

US-led coalition aircrafts unleashed a series of airstrikes targeting the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in eastern Syria, killing at least 10 militants and wounding many others, the coalition and the militant group said Sunday.

At least 16 airstrikes were reported late Saturday and early Sunday, triggering successive explosions that shook the city and created panic among residents, activists said, AP reported.

The US-led coalition often targets IS-held towns and cities in Syria, but the overnight strikes on Raqqa were rare in their intensity.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the coalition said it had conducted 16 airstrikes throughout Raqqa, destroying vital IS-controlled structures and transit routes in Syria.

"The significant airstrikes tonight were executed to deny IS the ability to move military capabilities throughout Syria and into Iraq," said coalition spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Gilleran.

"This was one of the largest deliberate engagements we have conducted to date in Syria and it will have debilitating effects on IS's ability to move from Raqqa."

Raqqa is the de facto capital of the so-called "caliphate" declared a year ago by IS in territories it controls in Iraq and Syria.

An IS-affiliated militant website confirmed the strikes on the center of the city, saying 10 people were killed and dozens wounded. It also published purported photos of dead victims, including two young boys.

A Raqqa-based anti-IS activist network reported eight civilians were killed by the coalition airstrikes, including a 10-year-old child. The report could not be independently confirmed.

The network said at least one airstrike targeted a group of IS members in the city center. Another targeted an IS checkpoint while a third destroyed large parts of an IS-held brick factory in the city.

Iraqi Army Raids in Anbar

At least 73 people were reportedly killed in Iraqi government airstrikes and artillery fire in the western Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, sources told Al Jazeera.

An airstrike on a sports field in Ramadi shortly after midnight on Sunday killed at least 50 people and left more than 30 injured. At least 23 people were killed and around 40 wounded after shelling north of Fallujah.

Hospital officials said most of those killed were young men and described them as civilians, a claim disputed by Iraqi security officials, who said those targeted were members of the IS.

The Iraqi Army's Anbar Operations Command said they launched airstrikes in the city, aiming an IS gathering.

In Fallujah, also held by IS, 23 people including five women and seven children, were killed after Iraqi government forces shelled areas in the north of the city, hospital sources said.


The deaths came as more than 30 members of the government-allied Popular Mobilization Forces died in clashes with IS militants near the city.

The spokesman for the coalition said fighting near the city was ongoing, and would pave the way for its eventual recapture.

The coalition was formed in response to an IS offensive in the summer of 2014 that saw much of Anbar Province fall to the extremist group.

This is while two car bombs on Saturday killed 11 people in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, police and medical sources said, striking as many people were ending their daily Ramadan fast.

One bomb hit the mainly Shia Amil district in the southwest of the city around dusk, killing eight people and wounding 27. The other hit a bus garage in Doura in the south of the capital, killing three people.

A third car bomb in the town of Balad Roz in northeast of Baghdad killed two people, local police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the bombings bore the hallmarks of IS attacks.

In May, the militant group scored a stunning victory, overrunning Ramadi, the provincial capital of western Anbar. Yet, Haditha and some other towns remain under control of government forces and allied Sunni tribal fighters.