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Belgian F-16 in first bombing raid against IS in Iraq

An F-16 fighter jet on Sunday carried out Belgium’s first bombing raid in the fight against the Islamist State (IS) group in Iraq, the defence ministry said.

Belgium has contributed six F-16 bombers to the US-led air campaign against IS militants, backing up Iraqi and Kurdish troops on the ground.

Two of the Belgian jets were flying their first reconnaissance missions over Iraqi territory on Sunday when they were called to action.

“After the positive identification of a terrorist element attacking Iraqi security forces”, one of the war planes was asked to launch an air strike, the ministry said in a statement.

“The Belgian aircraft intervened with a GPS-guided bomb, resulting in the immediate neutralisation of the enemy threat,” it added.

Belgium’s parliament overwhelmingly approved joining the US-led coalition against IS in late September, but limited its operations to Iraq — as have France, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The United States and several Arab coalition partners have been conducting air strikes against IS in Syria.