BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraqi airstrikes killed nine suspected Islamic State (IS) fighters, including four Lebanese, in retaliation for an IS attack on Iraqi army barracks earlier this month, officials said on Sunday.
IS gunmen in Iraq broke into a barracks in the mountainous al-Azim district outside the town of Baqouba on January 21, killed a guard and shot dead 11 soldiers as they slept.
It was one of the boldest attacks by the militants in recent weeks and came amid an uptick in violence that stoked fears the group has been re-energised.
Spokesman for Iraq’s commander in chief Yehia Rasool said the joint military operations room and the air force identified the cell behind the attack as its members hid in al-Azim, north of Baghdad. hree airstrikes were launched that killed the nine militants, he said.
A security official told The Associated Press four among the killed were Lebanese, natives of the northern town of Tripoli. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to reporters.
Tripoli is Lebanon’s second largest city and the country’s most impoverished. It has been prone to violence and militants who, inspired by the IS group, launched attacks against Lebanon’s army in 2014 in the most serious bout of violence in the city.