Belgian F-16 fighters strike first IS target in Iraq
F-16 fighter pilots from Belgium have carried out their first attack in Iraq against the terrorist group IS, “immediately neutralising” the target, according to the defence minister
The plane fired on Sunday at a military jeep with armed fighters on board as it drove towards Iraqi government troops stationed to the west of Baghdad. The target was “positively identified as a terrorist element” and “immediately neutralised,” according to a defence statement.
Two F-16 planes took part in the mission, which lasted seven hours. De Crem stressed that the pilots followed the rules of engagement laid down for the mission in Iraq. “There was no collateral damage caused to civilians or buildings, and the target was neutralised,” De Crem told Radio 1. He said he was unable to give the number of IS fighters killed in the attack.
Six Belgian fighter planes are taking part in the international coalition force set up to defeat IS extremism in Iraq, along with 160 Belgian troops currently stationed in the north of Jordan.
The mission was originally approved for one month, but De Crem said yesterday that it would “almost certainly be extended”.
The defence ministry is due to inform a special parliamentary committee about the engagement in Iraq later today.