Australian jets strike first ISIS targets in Iraq

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off as another taxis along the runway as they start their first combat mission over Iraq in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force on Oct 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet takes off as another taxis along the runway as they start their first combat mission over Iraq in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force on Oct 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australian fighter jets have made their first strike against militants in Iraq where a US-led coalition is engaged in a fierce bombing campaign to weaken the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"Overnight, the Australian Air Task Group operating in the Middle East attacked its first target in Iraq," the Australian Defence Force said in a statement.

"Two bombs were dropped from an F/A-18F Super Hornet on to an ISIL facility. All aircraft exited the target area safely and returned to base," it said, using the other name of the group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

The United States has been bombing ISIS and other groups in Syria for almost two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in neighbouring Iraq since August.

Australia began flying combat operations in Iraq on Sunday, but its jets pulled out of their first potential strike against the militants over fears of killing civilians, the military said earlier this week.