34 IS members killed in Iraq air strikes

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Baghdad, Dec 17: At least 34 fighters of the Sunni radical group Islamic State (IS) were killed on Tuesday in air strikes by the US-led international coalition on targets near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and its strategic dam.

A senior official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Gayaz al Surji, said that "coalition aircraft have conducted air strikes against positions held by the jihadi group in the area surrounding Ba'shiqah, 14 kms northeast of Mosul".

Al-Surji added that the intense bombing killed 19 IS militants and injured a few others, in addition to destroying 10 vehicles loaded with weapons.

Iraq

The coalition's air campaign had targeted the Ba'shiqah area before, Dec 6, killing 96 IS militants, injuring dozens and destroying a large number of the group's vehicles.

Strikes also targeted IS positions in the villages of Al Shiha and Jerab Kober, located seven km south of the Mosul Dam, in which at least 15 extremists were killed and dozens seriously injured.

A security official at the Mosul Dam, Muhedin al-Mazuri, said that "these targets were subjected to air strikes conducted by international coalition aircraft and shelling by the artillery of Kurdish Peshmerga forces".

The coalition announced that it has conducted three air raids in over the last three days near Mosul, in which an IS position was destroyed, along with three technical units and pieces of heavy artillery.

The IS tried to attack the Mosul Dam in mid-November, but failed in the attempt under heavy bombing that killed hundreds of its militants.

The Mosul Dam is the most important dam in northern Iraq, and was briefly controlled by jihadis for 20 days between July and August 2014, until Kurdish forces retook it.

IS occupied the city of Mosul in June, in addition to other areas in northern Iraq, declaring an Islamic caliphate in the areas under the group's control in Syria and Iraq.

--IANS/EFE

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