Marine warplanes conducted a series of airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq — as part of America’s promise to build up its air campaign against the terrorist group — following the attacks in Paris last week.
Brief video footage was released this week of AV-8B Harriers rocketing off the deck of an amphibious assault ship. The Defense Dept video shows Marine Corps Harriers with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit taking off from the Kearsarge in the Persian Gulf, on Nov 19.
The jets are conducting strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq, DOD officials said.
The U.S.-led coalition reportedly carried out 19 strikes in Iraq on Thursday. The airstrikes were part of the coalition’s support for the Kurdish ground offensive that recaptured Sinjar, the Iraqi town overrun by ISIL fighters in August 2014.
ISIS positions in and around Kirkuk, Kisik, Mosul, Ramadi and Sinjar, were among those hit in Thursday’s airstrikes — which marked the first carried out on ISIS by this Marine Corps squadron.
The Navy said the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in the Middle East November 1. The unit, comprising more than 2,200 personnel, is part of the Navy’s three-ship Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group based in Norfolk, the Marine Corps Times reports.
The mission comes almost one week after the deadly massacre in Paris and as European authorities continue their hunt to find all those responsible.
While the President shows continued solidarity with France, U.S. officials are debating what role “sea-based air assets” can and should play in the current conflict.
The USS Truman, is scheduled to arrive in the Persian Gulf next month, reportedly to wage war with Islamic State.