Australia launches first air strikes against IS in Syria

Updated: 2015-09-16 09:39


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CANBERRA -- Australia has launched its first air strikes against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, Defense Minister Kevin Andrews confirmed on Wednesday.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter jets carried out a bombing mission against mobile targets in Syria on Monday and Andrews said the mission was a complete success.

"Two days ago, the Air Task Group completed its first strike against a Daesh (IS) strike in eastern Syria, destroying an armored personnel carrier," Andrews told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Two of our Hornets identified the personnel carrier, which was hidden in a Daesh compound," he said.

"That information was reported back to the combined operations center by our (Boeing E-7A) Wedgetail command and control aircraft, and upon receiving authorization to proceed, one of the Hornets employed a precision guided weapon to destroy the target."

Andrews said the RAAF engaged in two other air strikes on Monday - one on an IS-controlled oil collection plant and the other on a tactical unit.

The minister said no Syrian civilians were hurt during the mission and that Australia's F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighters were not at risk of coming across enemy fire.

"This was done from a distance or height that preserved the safety of the Australian aircraft," Andrews said.

"Sorties are being flown over Syria and Iraq, the majority of our missions are still over Iraq and we're doing them on a very regular basis."

Last week, Australia said it had accepted a request from the United States to commence conducting air strikes against the terror group in Syria.

Australia had previously only been targeting insurgents in Iraq.