US ready to resume air strikes in Libya – Pentagon

The United States is prepared to carry out more air strikes against Islamic State militants in Sirte if requested by Libya’s U.N.-backed government, even though the militant group no longer controls much territory there, the Pentagon said on Monday.

 

Since August the United States has carried out more than 350 air strikes against Islamic State at the request of the Government of National Accord (GNA). However, none have been carried out since Oct. 31, officials said.

 

“If additional air strikes are needed, we will be prepared to deliver those air strikes,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at a news conference.

 

Islamic State took full control of Sirte, a city of some 80,000 inhabitants, in early 2015. Its loss would leave the jihadist group without any territorial control in Libya.

 

Libyan forces have the remaining militants in Sirte surrounded in part of the Ghiza Bahriya neighbourhood. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, estimated that only a few blocks of the city were controlled by a few dozen Islamic State fighters.

Boko Haram Releases Video Showing Chibok Girls Allegedly Killed By Army Airstrikes.

Jama.atu ahlis sunnah lidda awati wal jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram has released a fresh video of the female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, abducted more than 2 years ago.

The Youtube video posted on twitter by Ahmed Salkida, a journalist who has reported extensively on the Boko Haram group shows the Chibok girls dressed in hijab.

“This is the second time Shekau has ordered a video of the girls to be released to the public, since the abduction of the girls 852 days ago,” Salkida said via his twitter account.

He said a Chibok girl spoke in her mother tongue and narrated how many of the girls, dozens of them have been killed in airstrikes.

The Nigerian army in its bid to flush out the sect has in the past one year launched series of airstrikes on the hideouts of the group.

He also added that the video shows “horrifying images of some of the alleged to have been killed by airstrikes.”

 

Watch the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozAG1ZalRpU

Schoolgirl Who Left UK To Join ISIS Is Killed In Airstrike

One of the three Bethnal Green schoolgirls who left their homes to join ISIS is believed to have been killed by an airstrike in Raqqa.

Khadiza Sultana, 17, is thought to have died after her home was destroyed by a bomb that was believed to have been dropped by a Russian plane.

ITV News reveal that Sultana became disillusioned with life in the medieval terror state and was making plans to flee back to Britain.

The schoolgirl and two friends Amira Base and Shamima Begum left their families in east London

during the Easter school holidays in 2015.

Base and Begum, who were both just 15 when they fled, are believed to still be in Raqqa.

The trio became some of Britain’s most infamous ISIS recruits and shocked the nation after leaving their A-Level courses and their families to marry fighters in Syria.

Sultana ‘s family were hoping to help to get her out of Raqqa and across the border into Turkey. But it is believed Khadiza was killed before she could flee, after the property she was staying in was obliterated by the airstrike in May.

Islamic State Suffers Double Blow As Ramadi Falls, Leaders Killed

U.S.-led forces have killed 10 Islamic State leaders in air strikes, including individuals linked to the Paris attacks, a U.S. spokesman said, dealing a double blow to the militant group after Iraqi forces ousted it from the city of Ramadi.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi planted the national flag in Ramadi after the army retook the city center from Islamic State, a victory that could help vindicate his strategy for rebuilding the military after stunning defeats.

“Over the past month, we’ve killed 10 ISIL leadership figures with targeted air strikes, including several external attack planners, some of whom are linked to the Paris attacks,” said U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamist group also known by the acronym ISIL.

“Others had designs on further attacking the West.”

One of those killed was Abdul Qader Hakim, who facilitated the militants’ external operations and had links to the Paris attack network, Warren said. He was killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Dec. 26.
Two days earlier, a coalition air strike in Syria killed Charaffe al Mouadan, a Syria-based Islamic State member with a direct link to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the coordinated bombings and shootings in Paris on Nov. 13 which killed 130 people, Warren said.
Mouadan was planning further attacks against the West, he added.
Air strikes on Islamic State’s leadership helped explain recent battlefield successes against the group, which also lost control of a dam on a strategic supply route near its de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria on Saturday.

“Part of those successes is attributable to the fact that the organization is losing its leadership,” Warren said. He warned, however: “It’s still got fangs.”

Chad Airstrikes Against Boko Haram Not On Our Territory- Nigerian Military

Nigeria has denied claims that Chad conducted air strikes on Nigerian soil, against jihadist sect, Boko Haram. The Defence Headquarters on Thursday said the report was incorrect.

The denial followed a statement by Chad’s military that it carried out a series of air strikes against Boko Haram bases in Nigeria in retaliation for twin suicide bombings on Tuesday in its capital, N’Djamena.

The attack killed at least 34 people, Reuters news agency reported. Chad said the strikes had caused heavy human and material damage to six of the Islamist militants’ bases, according to Reuters.

But the Nigerian military said in a statement by the Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, a Major General, that the Nigerian Air force surveillance mission identified targets tagged, Camp 6, around Bosso town which is not within Nigerian territory, “and alerted the partners, accordingly”.

Mr. Olukolade said the places reported to have been struck by the Chadians were therefore most likely to be in Niger Republic and not Nigeria as widely reported in the international media.

“Although the terms of the multilateral and bilateral understanding with partners in the war against terror allow some degree of hot pursuit against the terrorists, the territory of Nigeria has not been violated as insinuated in the reports circulated in some foreign media,” he said.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Cameroon Bombs Boko Haram, Kills 41

Nigeria’s neighbour, Cameroon, has launched air strikes against Boko Haram terrorists for the first time, killing no fewer than 41 Islamist militants after the large force of jihadists crossed the border and seized a military camp at Ashigashiya, the government said.

Cameroon’s Minister of Information, Issa Tchiroma in a statement in Yaounde, yesterday, said the coordinated assaults on five towns and villages showed a change in tactics by Boko Haram fighters, who have focused on hit-and-run raids on individual settlements in the past.

He said: “Boko Haram’s campaign to carve out an Islamist caliphate has spread from its stronghold in North-East Nigeria to neighbouring Cameroon, raising fears for an already unstable region also threatened by Islamist militants in the Sahel.

He added that Cameroon has sent thousands of soldiers to its Far North region to fight off the militants and said it launched air attacks on the movement for the first time on Sunday.

According to him, “Units of the Boko Haram group attacked Makari, Amchide, Limani and Achigachia in a change of strategy which consists of distracting Cameroonian troops on different fronts, making them more vulnerable in the face of the mobility and unpredictability of their attacks.
“No fewer than 34 militants were killed after the army laid siege to a base used by the militants in Chogori while seven others, and one soldier were killed near the town of Waza.”

Army spokesman, Lt.-Col. Didier Badjeck, told newsmen that the Islamists briefly occupied an army camp in Achigachia after a fierce fight, but withdrew after air attacks. “All the militants had now pulled back into Nigeria,” Badjeck said.

Both Tchiroma and Badjeck said it was too early to give full details of casualties. Biya orders deployment of war planes

In another statement, Cameroon’s Communications Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said the country’s president, Paul Biya, personally ordered deployment of war planes on Sunday which forced the insurgents to flee the camp.

According to Bakary, “Fighter planes went into action for the first time since the start of the conflict on the Cameroonian side of the frontier, after several months of deadly cross-border Boko Haram raids.

Credit: www.vanguardngr.com

I. S. ‘Retreating’ Kobane

Islamic State militants are retreating in parts of the strategic Syrian town of Kobane, a Kurdish official has said.

Idriss Nassan told the BBC IS had lost control of more than 20% of the town in recent days.

US defence officials say hundreds of militants have been killed around Kobane as US-led air strikes intensify.

The news came as US President Barack Obama and European leaders agreed on the need to do more to stop the IS advance in Iraq and Syria.

In a video conference, Mr Obama and the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy agreed to step up support for an “inclusive political approach” in Iraq and training for local forces in Iraq and Syria, a statement by UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said.

Read More on: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29629357

New Coalition Airstrike Around Kobane

An aircraft of the international coalition on Wednesday carried out a new air strike against Islamic State (IS) targets around the Syrian border town of Kobane, an AFP correspondent reported.

The air strike sent a cloud of thick black smoke billowing into the air from a hill on the eastern side of Kobane, the correspondent reported from the Turkish border.

It was the first air strike witnessed Wednesday after a flurry of strikes Tuesday which some sources said had helped Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) push back the IS militants.

Idris Nahsen, a Kurdish official from Kobane, said that the air strikes had been helpful.

“The situation has changed since Tuesday. YPG forces have pushed back IS forces,” said Nahsen, who himself moved to Turkey on Tuesday but now plans to go back.

The fighting for Kobane could still be heard on the Turkish side of the border and IS fighters could be seen moving around the edge of the city. The black flags planted by IS on Monday were still in place.

Meanwhile, the minaret of a mosque in the centre of Kobane that had been clearly visible from the Turkish side collapsed, the correspondent said. The cause was not immediately clear.

Australia Joins Fight Against ISIS in Iraq

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Australia became the latest nation to join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS on Friday, as its Cabinet authorized airstrikes by Australian military jets in Iraq and the use of its special forces.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking at a joint press conference with defense chiefs, said ISIS had “effectively declared war on the world” and posed a threat to Australia and its people.

ISIS must be disrupted and degraded, he said, and “it is absolutely in Australia’s national interests that this mission go ahead.”

The Cabinet authorized the deployment of Australian Special Forces into Iraq to “advise and assist” Iraqi forces, Abbott said, subject to final legal approvals from Iraq. Australian aircraft already began flying support missions over Iraq this week.

Australia’s decision to join the military campaign came only hours after Turkey’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to authorize military force against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

Denmark Joins Coalition Against I. S.

 The Danish government says it is joining the U.S. led coalition to strike at the Islamic State extremist group, sending seven F-16 fighter jets to take part in airstrikes against the group in Iraq.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt says her left-leaning government has a parliamentary majority backing the deployment of four operational planes and three reserve jets along with 250 pilots and support staff.

She said Friday a vote in Parliament is planned and is considered a formality. However, no date was immediately set for the vote.

The Netherlands has already agreed to join the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. Neither country plans to deploy in Syria.

Denmark has already contributed a transport plane to a U.S.-led humanitarian operation in northern Iraq.

Breaking:”This is not America’s Fight Alone”- Obama on U.S. Strategy Against ISIS

President Obama says the participation of five Arab nations in airstrikes against militants in Syria “makes it clear to the world this is not America’s fight alone.”

Obama says the joint fight against the Islamic State will take time but is vital to the security of the United States, the Mideast and the world.

The U.S.-Arab airstrikes Monday night targeted the group’s headquarters in eastern Syria.

Obama say the U.S. is “proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder” with Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates in conducting the strikes.

U.S. & Arab Coalition Airstrike Hits ISIS in Syria

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U. S.  and  Arab coalition have launched strikes from the air and sea against Islamic State militants in Syria on Tuesday, opening a new front in the battle against the brutal jihadist group.

The airstrikes focused on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, a U.S. official told reporters, though other locations were hit as well. 

The US Central Command said in a statement that Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had joined Washington in carrying out the strikes.

 “Using a mix of fighter, bombers, remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles” the coalition conducted 14 strikes against IS targets in Syria, it said.

The strikes “destroyed or damaged” multiple targets in the jihadists’ northern stronghold and near the border with Iraq including IS fighter positions, training compounds, command centres and armed vehicles.

They’re the first strikes against the terror group inside the country since President Barack Obama’s announcement this month that he was prepared to expand the American efforts beyond targets in Iraq.

All foreign partners participating in the strikes with the United States are Arab countries, a senior U.S. military official told reporters. Those nations are Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Diplomatic sources told reporters that Qatar was also involved, though it was not clear whether Qatar actually conducted airstrikes itself.

Damascus said that it had been informed by Washington of the air raids prior to the action on its soil. Syria’s opposition National Coalition welcomed the new strikes, but urged sustained pressure on Assad’s government.

 

U.S. Confirms Al Shabaab Leader Godane Dead

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The Pentagon confirmed on Friday that Ahmed Abdi Godane,  leader of the al Shabaab Islamist group, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia this week, calling it a “major symbolic and operational loss” for the Al Qaeda-affiliated militants.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said in a statement that, “We have confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the co-founder of al Shabaab, has been killed.”

His death leaves a gap in Al Shabaab’s leadership and was seen as posing the biggest challenge to the group’s unity since it emerged as a fighting force eight years ago.

Abdi Ayante, director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, said Godane’s death would be “a game changer in many ways for al Shabaab.”

Before the Pentagon confirmed Godane’s death, Ayante said, “What is likely to happen is a struggle for power.” He adds that,  fragmentation was also possible in the absence of a leader with Godane’s experience and ruthless approach to dissent.

U.S. forces struck Godane’s encampment in south-central Somalia with Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions on Monday, but the Pentagon did not confirm his death until Friday, saying it was still assessing the results of the airstrike.

Iraq Air Strikes ‘Kill Top I.S Members’

Operation Iraqi Freedom II/ Operation Al Fajr

A top I. S military commander has been reportedly killed in an airstrike on the northern city of Mosul. Iraq’s defence ministry also reports that a top aide to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed in a strike on Mosul, but neither death has been confirmed.

Iraqiya TV quoted defence officials as saying Abu Alaa al-Iraqi, head of the IS military council in the city of Tal Afar, had died in an air strike. Prior reports on social media had suggested that Al-Baghdadi himself had been killed in a separate strike on Mosul. But the defence ministry said intelligence suggested the strike had killed one of the leader’s senior aides instead.

It is however unclear whether the latest strikes were by US or Iraqi forces.