Canada launches first airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, November 2, 2014 6:14PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 3, 2014 10:53AM EST
Canadian forces launched their first airstrikes on ISIS targets in northern Iraq on Sunday, government officials have confirmed.
Two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs near the city of Fallujah during a mission that lasted approximately four hours.
In a statement, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said the mission included air-to-air re-fueling from Canada’s Polaris aircraft. All aircraft returned safely to their base, the minister said, adding assessment of damage is ongoing.
“Today's strike demonstrates our government's firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism and to stand with our allies against ISIL's atrocities against innocent women, children and men,” Nicholson said. “I thank all our men and women in uniform for their work on this important mission.”
The airstrikes marked the first time that Canadian forces have participated in an offensive against Islamic State militants. Six CF-18 fighter jets, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes and the C-150 refuelling jet have been deployed to Kuwait. Canada has also committed a total of 600 personnel to the mission, and is providing Iraqi security forces with military supplies and training.
The Canadian government has committed to a six-month mission, dubbed Operation Impact, in Iraq to fight ISIS militants.
Sunday’s mission capped a day of airstrikes in the region. Earlier, U.S.-led coalition forces struck ISIS targets using fighter jets and unmanned drones. American forces alone conducted nine airstrikes, destroying tanks, vehicle shelters and a small ISIS unit.