Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Friday that the Iraqi air force struck ISIS positions inside neighboring Syria in retaliation to recent bomb attacks in Baghdad.
“We ordered the air force command to strike Daesh terrorist sites in Husseibeh and Albu Kamal, in Syrian territory,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the jihadist organization.
“We are determined to chase terrorism that tries to kill our sons and citizens wherever it is found,” Abadi’s statement said.
According to the prime minister, the targets were connected with recent bombings in Baghdad but did not provide further details.
“The heroes of the sky executed the operation and responded to the terrorists with amazing success,” said Abadi.
A security official speaking on condition of anonymity said it was the first time Iraq aircraft hunted ISIS targets across the border with Syria.
Both locations cited by Abadi are very close to the border and lie in the Euphrates Valley, facing the remote western Iraqi town of Al-Qaim.
Jihadists have lost most of their urban strongholds in the vast western province of Anbar since Iraqi forces started mounting a counter-offensive following the capture by ISIS of around a third of the country in 2014.
But they continue to move relatively easily in desert areas and have hideouts from which they harass the security forces.
On Friday, the jihadists carried out an attack in Anbar on an Iraqi border guard position near Jordan, killing at least 15 guards, officials said.
“Daesh launched an attack with a suicide car bomb and gunmen on the 2nd border guard regiment near Trebil,” an officer in the border guard told Agence France Presse.
“The attack came from several directions and killed 15 border guards, including two officers,” he said.
An official in Rutba, the nearest town, confirmed the attack and the death toll.