Iraqi airstrikes target IS militants in Syria to foil attacks against holy shrines

Representational photo.

Nineveh ( Dozens of Islamic State militants were killed as Iraqi intelligence carried out airstrikes in Syria to foil attacks against holy shrines in Najaf, Karbala, Samarra, the Great Mosque of Kufa and the influential Shiite Cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the government-owned Al-Sabah newspaper reported.

“IS prepared for three separate attacks depending on leaders from outside Iraq to attack the holy shrines in Karbala, Najaf, Samarra, Sistani house, Kufa mosque and Basra. Dozens of suicide attackers from different nationalities using booby-trapped vehicles were going to carry out the attacks in cooperation with smuggling gangs to facilitate entrance of the attackers with their weapons into the targeted provinces,” Abu Ali al-Basri, head of the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s intelligence and counter-terrorism department, said on Sunday.

“After ensuring the information from our sources, the terrorist scheme was reviewed by the Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, who is the commander in chief of the armed forces, and Interior Minister Qassim al-Aaraji to approve a plan in coordination with the Joint Operations Command to strike the militants using the F-16 jets,” Basri added.

Seven main targets and booby-trapped vehicles were destroyed at the Syrian city of Mayadin and the borders of Qaim town, hours before the militants carried out the attacks from these places heading toward their targets,” Basri said adding that dozens of IS members were killed.

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