By Israel News Agency Staff
Jerusalem — September 23, 2014 … The US and her allies launched airstrikes against Sunni terrorists in Syria early Tuesday, unleashing a rain of cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs from the air and sea on the terrorist’s de facto capital of Raqqa and along the Iraq border.
US fighter jets and armed Predator and Reaper drones, flying alongside warplanes from several Arab allies, struck a broad array of targets in territory controlled by the ISIS terrorists, known as the Islamic State. The Pentagon said the targets included weapons supplies, depots, barracks and buildings the militants use for command and control. Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from United States Navy ships in the region.
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes, US officials said, although the Arab governments were not expected to announce their participation until later Tuesday. The new coalition’s makeup is significant because the United States was able to recruit Sunni governments to take action against the Sunni terrorists of the Islamic State. The operation also unites the squabbling states of the Persian Gulf.
The strikes in Syria occurred without the approval of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whose government, unlike Iraq, did not ask the United States for help against the Sunni terror group. Obama has repeatedly called on Mr. Assad to step down because of chemical weapons attacks and violence against his own people, and defense officials said Assad had not been told in advance of the strikes.
Combined with a French airstrike last week on a logistics depot held by Islamic State terrorists in northeastern Iraq, the allied participation in the strikes allows Obama to make the case that his plan to target the Islamic State has international cooperation.
“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,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, using an alternate name for the Islamic State.
“Given that these operations are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide additional details at this time,” Admiral Kirby said in a statement Monday night in Washington. “The decision to conduct these strikes was made earlier today by the US Central Command commander under authorization granted him by the commander in chief. We will provide more details later as operationally appropriate.”
The strikes against Islamic State killed at least 70 of its fighters on Tuesday in north and eastern Syria.
The coalition that attacked ISIS in Syria overnight “makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone,” US President Barack Obama said today.
At the same time, the United States took action — on its own — against another terrorist organization, the Khorasan Group. Obama described its members as “seasoned al Qaeda operatives in Syria.”
US officials said the group was plotting attacks against the United States and other Western targets.
The plots against the United States were discovered by the intelligence community in the past week. The plot involved a bomb made of a nonmetallic device, toothpaste container, and clothes dipped in explosive material.
A plot involving concealed bombs on airplanes “was just one option they were looking at,” a US official said.
While missiles were slamming ISIS, the Israel Border Police’s respected YAMAM counter-terrorist unit on Tuesday stormed a building in Hebron that was housing the Palestinian terrorists who kidnapped and murdered three yeshiva teenage students in June.
In the raid, the team of crack commandos exchanged gunfire with the wanted Palestinians, killing them.
Israel had vowed to track down Marwan Kawasme and Amer Abu Aysha, the two Hamas operatives who in June abducted Gil-Ad Shaer ,16, Eyal Yifrah, 19, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, three yeshiva students who were hitchhiking near Hebron.