Dutch fighter jets strike ISIS for the first time

Dutch F-16 fighter jets bomb ISIS targets for the first time in Syria, the defense ministry announces.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Dutch F-16 fighter jets (archive)
Dutch F-16 fighter jets (archive)
Reuters

Dutch F-16 fighter jets have bombed Islamic State (ISIS) targets for the first time in Syria since broadening its mission in the American-led air campaign, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.

"Dutch F-16s carried out around 10 missions over Iraq and eastern Syria," the Hague-based ministry said in its weekly summary of operations on its website.

It is the first time the summary has mentioned targets in Syria since the Dutch government late last month announced it was fanning out its current air support mission over Iraq into Syria, in the wake of U.S. and French requests.

The air strikes were directed against "combat positions, military equipment and strategic aims of the IS terror organization," the ministry said, without detailing when and where the attacks took place.

The Netherlands is participating in the Iraq strikes with four F-16 aircraft specializing in close air support of ground operations by Iraqi forces.

Late last year in the wake of the November Paris attacks, the Dutch government received a request from American and French allies to broaden its campaign against the ISIS.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in January said the extended air operations would target eastern Syria "in particular to stop the IS 'pipeline' leading from Syria into Iraq."

American air strikes in Iraq began in August 2014 after ISIS captured a swathe of territory in Iraq and Syria in a lightning offensive and declared the areas it captured a “caliphate”.

Washington and Arab allies broadened the strikes against ISIS into Syria a month later in September 2014, with the U.S. also leading moves to build an international coalition of some 60 nations against the jihadists.

The four Dutch F-16 jet fighters which have been pounding ISIS jihadists in Iraq since October 2014 will "remain active until July 1 over the enlarged zone," the government said last month.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders has cautioned however that bombing was not the whole solution in a "complex conflict" in Syria.

AFP contributed to this report.




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