Australia to end air strikes against IS in Iraq
Australia is ending its involvement in air strikes on Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, the country's military said on Friday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.
Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornets would return to Australia after an "arduous and brutal" campaign against the terrorist group.
The announcement came after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in December declared victory over the IS.
Payne said Australia's Operation Okra has made a significant contribution in the fight against IS.
"Given the success that has been achieved on the battlefield by the Iraqi security forces, Australia's contribution is now at a transition point," she told reporters on Friday.
"After more than three years of air operations, the number of coalition air strike commissions has steadily dropped since the last major population center was captured in October.
"Following discussions with Iraq and members of the international coalition, the Australian government has determined we will bring home our six Super Hornet strike aircraft from the Middle East."
More than 800 Australian military personnel were involved in Operation Okra, mostly in Iraq.
"We are there at the invitation of the government of Iraq," Payne said.
"There's no doubt that our operations have made a difference to the ability of the Iraqi security forces' campaign to defeat Daesh (IS) and to ensure that the extremists of this organization are prevented from spreading their toxic ideology further across the globe."
Military operations in the region will now shift focus to holding territory that has been retaken from IS with Australian surveillance aircraft and 380 Australian military personnel continuing to provide support to that end.
Related news releases
- 18.03.2018Iran security service arrest close ally of ex-president Ahmadinejad
- 17.03.2018Turkish troops reunite in Afrin's north
- 17.03.2018China's parliament re-elects Xi Jinping as president
- 16.03.2018Iran won’t renegotiate 2015 nuke deal: Deputy FM
- 16.03.2018U.S. military helicopter crashes in Iraq with seven aboard
- 14.03.2018Explosion kills 9 in northeast Pakistan
- 14.03.2018Deputy of ex-Iranian president remanded in custody
- 14.03.2018Two civilians killed in Damascus in shelling by militants
- 13.03.2018Iranian official blames UK for London embassy incident
- 13.03.2018Israeli PM Netanyahu urges feuding coalition to remain intact
- 12.03.2018At least 50 dead as Bangladeshi passenger plane crashes at Kathmandu airport - UPDATED-2
- 11.03.2018Military vehicle crash in Turkey martyrs one soldier
- 11.03.2018So-called leaders of YPG/PKK 'fleeing' Afrin
- 10.03.2018Iran expresses protest to UK over incident with embassy in London – FM
- 10.03.20188 terrorists 'neutralized' this week in Turkey, N Iraq
- 10.03.2018North Korean state media quiet on Kim Jong Un's overtures to Trump
- 09.03.2018Iranian farmers stage protest in drought-hit Isfahan
- 08.03.2018Israel will always control Jordan Valley: Netanyahu
- 08.03.2018Military storage unit in Iran explodes
- 08.03.2018Israel's El Al seeks U.N. help in bid to fly through Saudi airspace
- 07.03.2018Suicide bomber kills Muslim official in Afghan city
- 07.03.2018Ex-Iran leader warns of mounting public 'disaffection'
- 07.03.2018Terrorists force Afrin residents to dig ditches
- 07.03.20181 killed in car bomb blast in Syria's Al-Bab
- 06.03.2018Russian transport plane crashes in Syria
- 06.03.2018Wedding party truck plunges off a bridge in India, killing 25
- 06.03.2018Koreas reach 'satisfactory' agreement
- 06.03.2018Iran: We can resume enriching weapons-grade uranium in 'less than 48 hours'
- 05.03.2018'More than 40 militants' killed in Afghanistan
- 05.03.2018Papua New Guinea quake kills 80 people
- 04.03.2018N. Korea warns U.S. not to misjudge intention for talks
- 03.03.2018Saudi Arabia holds first-ever marathon for women
- 03.03.2018Turkish female troops provide backup in Afrin operation
- 03.03.2018North Korea threatens to 'counter' U.S. over military drills
- 03.03.2018Three Australians die, more sick in listeria outbreak tied to melons
- 02.03.2018Saudi Arabia lifts 35-year-long ban on cinemas
- 02.03.2018South Korea plans to send envoy to North Korea soon
- 02.03.20188 Turkish soldiers martyred, 13 wounded in Afrin
- 02.03.2018Iran detains 35 women for going to football match
- 02.03.2018IED blast kills 2 in Afghanistan
- 22.12.2017Israeli woman, 42, gives birth to her 20th child
- 22.12.2017Iran detains 230 boys and girls for drinking, dancing
- 23.12.2017Two trains collide in Austria, several injured
- 22.12.2017Netanyahu rejects UN resolution on Jerusalem
- 22.12.2017Details of S-400 missile system deal with Saudi Arabia to be agreed by year-end — official
- 21.12.20175.2-magnitude quake hits Iran