US-led coalition aircraft have carried out a series of strikes against ISIL in the city of Falluja.
Preliminary and unofficial estimates suggest at least 250 suspected fighters have been killed and at least 40 vehicles destroyed.
“We destroyed more than 138 vehicles and killed all those inside,” says Lt Gen Hamid Atiya Al-Maliki of the Iraqi Air Force. “They left dead bodies and took some wounded militants with them. This operation broke the back of terrorism”.
If the figures are confirmed, the strikes would be among the most deadly ever against the jihadist group.
If confirmed, the strikes, which officials say targeted an area south of Falluja, are the latest battlefield setback suffered by ISIL in its campaign to establish a self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.
- The US government has declared victory over ISIL in Falluja
- An alliance of militias have also launched a major offensive against the militant group in the city of Manbij in northern Syria.
However, the group’s territorial losses are not allaying concerns about its intent and ability to strike abroad.
- Turkey has blamed ISIL for a triple suicide bombing and gun attack that killed 41 people at Istanbul’s main airport on Tuesday.
- Sources say a counter-attack has pushed back US-backed Syrian rebels from the outskirts of an ISIL-held town on the border with Iraq, along with a nearby air base.
What they are saying
“We have made some significant progress, along with our coalition partners, in Syria and Iraq. But I think we have a way to go before we are able to say we have made some significant progress against ISIL,” – CIA head John Brennan.