U.S. Navy jets hit more Islamic State targets in Iraq, Syria

ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (Reuters) - U.S. fighter jets have dropped 35 smart bombs and pamphlet bombs on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in strikes launched from the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier since it moved from the Gulf to the Mediterranean last Friday, Navy officials said.

The officials said further raids were launched on Tuesday, but not yet tallied.

The Truman, which is due to hand off to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier in several weeks, has deployed more than 1,460 smart bombs and pamphlets against the militant group since last December, when it first arrived in the Gulf, they said.

U.S. officials have said the attacks, which are being closely coordinated with U.S-backed ground forces, are starting to have results, eroding the amount of territory held by Islamic State in Iraq and reducing the group’s oil revenues.

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Peter Shultis, who flies one of the ship’s Boeing Co EA-18G electronic attack planes, told reporters aboard the Truman that his team was also intercepting fewer voice communications by Islamic State militants.

The Truman carrier strike group includes the cruiser Anzio, and the destroyers Gravely, Bulkeley, Gonzalez and Ramage.

The carrier, which has a crew of nearly 5,500, has been at the center of the U.S. Navy’s war strikes against Islamic State, but it will return to its homeport in Norfolk, Virginia, around mid-July.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Tom Brown