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US, partner nations launch first IS targets in Syria

The United States and several Gulf Arab allies launched air and missile strikes on the strongholds of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria on Sept. 23, U.S. officials said, Reuters reports.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (ISIL) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.

“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time.”

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain were all involved, although their exact roles in the military action were unclear. Qatar played a supporting role in the air strikes, the official said.

Another official said at least one U.S. ship had launched surface-to-surface Tomahawk cruise missiles. Armed U.S. drones were also used in the attacks.  The targets included Raqqa city, the headquarters of ISIL.

Syrian state television said the United States informed Syria’s U.N. representative on Sept. 22 that ISIL targets would be hit in Raqqa, which is 400 km (250 miles) northeast of Damascus.

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