Canadian airstrikes hit ISIS construction equipment in Iraq
Published Monday, November 3, 2014 10:46AM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 3, 2014 10:50PM EST
Canada’s first airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq destroyed construction vehicles used by the terror group to build ground defences, sources tell CTV News.
Canada launched its first airstrikes on Sunday, the Department of National Defence confirmed. Two CF-18s dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs near the Iraqi city of Fallujah in a mission that lasted about four hours.
Without crediting the specific countries involved, U.S. Central Command issued a statement Monday, saying that coalition forces launched nine airstrikes on Iraq and five airstrikes on Syria aimed at ISIS targets.
During an operation near Fallujah, CENTCOM said, “four airstrikes struck a large (ISIS) unit and destroyed five (ISIS) bulldozers and one (ISIS) dump truck involved in creating obstructions and berms.”
The statement does not name which nations were involved in the strikes near Fallujah. However, the location matches the area that Canadian officials indicated had been hit by the two CF-18s.
“The strikes were conducted as part of Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group (ISIS) and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region, and the wider international community,” the CENTCOM statement said.
“The destruction of (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group’s ability to project power and conduct operations.”
Canadian defence officials are expected to offer more details about the mission on Tuesday.
Canada’s first two strikes against Islamic State militants included air-to-air refueling from a Polaris aircraft, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Monday.
All aircraft returned safely to their base in Kuwait. CTV’s Peter Akman is in Kuwait, closely following developments in the fight against ISIS.
“(ISIS), as you know, has killed thousands of innocent people and has created a humanitarian crisis in Iraq,” Nicholson said Monday in a keynote speech to SecureTech, a defence and security industry conference.
“Canada is resolved to work with our allies to tackle this terrorist threat and stand against (ISIS) atrocities.”
Canada has contributed six CF-18 fighter jets, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes, the C-150 refuelling jet and approximately 600 personnel to the multinational anti-ISIS mission. The deployment is to last six months, and the federal government will have to decide at that time whether to renew the mission.
Nicholson singled out the upgraded Aurora surveillance planes as particularly vital to Canada’s operations.
“These aircraft provide essential intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that are vital to the success of coalition operations,” he said.
Despite weeks of bombing, ISIS extremists continue to fight and slaughter civilians.
The head of intelligence for the Free Syrian Army, the opposition force fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, says Canada is wasting its time on airstrikes and should instead be training rebels across the region to fight ISIS militants on the ground.
So far, the airstrikes have been relatively safe for Canadian and coalition pilots. But there are reports that ISIS fighters are now in possession of anti-aircraft weapons, including heat-seeking missiles looted from Libya.