USled strikes hit Islamic State as coalition grows

first_imgBEIRUT — American warplanes and drones hit Islamic State group tanks, Humvees, checkpoints and bunkers in airstrikes Friday targeting the extremists in Syria and Iraq, as the U.S.-led coalition expanded with Denmark, Belgium and Britain joining.The European countries committed to take part only in the Iraq part of the military campaign, leaving the operation in Syria to the United States and five Arab allies who began conducting airstrikes there on Tuesday. Still, the broadening of the coalition provides a welcome boost for President Barack Obama and the American-led campaign.The U.S.-led operation aims to roll back and ultimately crush the Islamic State group, which has carved out a proto-state stretching from Syria’s northern border with Turkey to the outskirts of Baghdad. The militants have employed brute force to achieve their goals, massacring captured Syrian and Iraqi troops, terrorizing minorities in both countries and beheading two American journalists and a British aid worker.While striking fear into its opponents, the Islamic State group’s tactics have also helped galvanize the international community to move against the extremists. France has already joined the U.S.-led effort in Iraq, and is considering expanding its role to Syria as well.Denmark, Belgium and Britain all signed on as well on Friday. Denmark said it would send seven F-16 fighter jets and 250 pilots and support staff, while Belgium will contribute six F-16s that are already en route to Jordan so they can go into action as early as Saturday.last_img

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