December 31, 2018 / 12:54 PM / 8 months ago

Iraqi warplanes strike Islamic State leaders in Syria: military

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi warplanes hit a meeting of Islamic State leaders near Deir al-Zor in Syria on Monday, destroying the building they were gathered in, the military said in a statement, without giving further details about the militants targeted.

The statement said F-16 fighter jets carried out the raid around al-Sousa village in eastern Syria, as “30 leaders from Daesh (Islamic State) gangs” met in the building.

The strike came a day after Iraq’s government hinted at greater involvement for its armed forces in Syria as the U.S. begins withdrawing troops from the country.

Iraq fears that Islamic State militants in Syria will try to cross the border, and analysts warn of increasing insurgent-style attacks in both countries.

Baghdad has carried out several air raids in Syrian territory with the agreement of President Bashar al-Assad. Its army and Shi’ite paramilitaries have reinforced at the border in recent months.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and John Davison; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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