At least 34 jihadists killed in coalition air strikes

Mosul, Iraq, Dec 16 (EFE).- At least 34 jihadist fighters in the Islamic State, IS, group were killed Tuesday in air strikes by the U.S.-led international coalition on targets near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and its strategic dam.

A senior official of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Gayaz al Surji, told Efe that “coalition aircraft have conducted air strikes against positions held by the jihadist group in the area surrounding Ba’shiqah, 14 kilometers (8.6 miles) northeast of Mosul.”

Al-Surji added that the intense bombing killed 19 IS militants and injured a few others, in addition to destroying 10 vehicles loaded with weapons.

The coalition’s air campaign had targeted the Ba’shiqah area before, on December 6, 2014, killing 96 IS militants, injuring dozens and destroying a large number of the group’s vehicles.

Strikes also targeted IS positions in the villages of al-Shiha and Jerab Kober, located 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) south of the Mosul Dam, in which at least 15 extremists were killed and dozens seriously injured.

A security official at the Mosul Dam, Muhedin al-Mazuri, told Efe that “these targets were subjected to airstrikes conducted by international coalition aircraft and shelling by the artillery of Kurdish Peshmerga forces.”

The coalition announced that it has conducted three air raids in over the last three days near Mosul, in which an IS position was destroyed, along with three technical units and pieces of heavy artillery.

The Islamic State tried to attack the Mosul Dam in mid-November, but failed in the attempt under heavy bombing that killed hundreds of its militants.

The Mosul Dam is the most important dam in northern Iraq, and was briefly controlled by jihadists for 20 days between July and August 2014, until Kurdish forces retook it.

IS occupied the city of Mosul in June, in addition to other areas in northern Iraq, declaring an Islamic caliphate n the areas under the group’s control in Syria and Iraq.

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