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Coalition air strikes target Islamic State HQ in Tikrit

Air strikes have been launched targeting a complex of palaces in the Iraqi city of Tikrit, which are being used as a headquarters for Islamic State leaders and groups.

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The extremist militants have been holding out in the city - Sadaam Hussein's birthplace - for more than three weeks as ground-based Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Shi'ite militia began a campaign to drive them out.

Video released by the coalition, known as the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, or CJTF-OIR, purports to show the air strikes on the Islamic State-controlled region.

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More than 20,000 troops and allied Shi'ite paramilitary groups have been taking part in the offensive.


RAF conducts air strikes against IS targets in Mosul

RAF Tornado aircraft conducted air strikes against Islamic State targets in Mosul. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

RAF Tornado and Reaper aircraft have carried out air strikes in the Iraqi city of Mosul against Islamic State (IS) targets.

In a press release the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said an RAF patrol assisted Peshmerga forces fighting in north-east Mosul on March 19th / 20th by conducting "precision attacks against an IS heavy machine gun and weapon positions".

The statement added that a British military team is also currently based in Baghdad to "train and equip the Iraqi forces to deal more effectively with improvised explosive devices, increasingly left behind by ISIL as they are forced back by government troops."

Videos show coalition airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq

The US Department of Defence has released footage US and coalition airstrikes in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

These videos show strikes against Islamic State-controlled facilities, equipment and locations in Iraq, the department said.

The DoD said the mission of Operation Inherent Resolve "is to eliminate the IS group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community."

Coalition nations that have conducted airstrikes in Iraq include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Canadian soldier killed by friendly fire in Iraq

A Canadian special forces soldier battling against Islamic State militants alongside Kurdish fighters has been killed by friendly fire.

Sgt Andrew Joseph Doiron, serving with the Canadian Special Operations Regiment based in Ontario, was in Iraq training to fight the terror group, when he and a number of his comrades were mistakenly engaged by Iraqi Kurdish forces.

Sgt Andrew Doiron, from Canada, was killed by friendly fire Credit: EBU

The Associated Press reports a spokesman for the Kurdish forces said the group had ignored a request to stay away from the frontline, catching those fighters by surprise.

Tributes have been paid.

He selflessly volunteered to serve and deployed to help bring freedom to people he never met.

We are grateful for his service, and his loss will be felt throughout the Combined Joint Task Force.

– Coalition fighting against Islamic State


US-led coalition conducts airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

US and coalition forces conducted six airstrikes against IS in Kobani, Syria Credit: Reuters/Osman Orsal

US and coalition forces conducted six airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and another 11 in Iraq in the past 24 hours, the US military said.

In Syria, the six strikes targeted three tactical units near Kobani, destroying two fighting positions and damaging one heavy machine gun position.

In Iraq, the strikes took place near Mosul, Tal Afar, Fallujah and Kirkuk, hitting tactical units, buildings and checkpoints as well as vehicles and one weapons cache, the statement said.

All aircraft taking part in the operation returned safely to base.

Islamic State militants destroy another ancient city

Islamic State militants have destroyed the historical remains of another ancient city in Iraq.

The country's tourism and antiquities ministry said the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra, in the northern region, had been demolished.

A picture taken in 2002 shows one of the ancient temples in Hatra Credit: Reuters

Hatra was named as a world heritage site in 1987, and dates back two millennia to the Seleucid empire which ruled much of the land conquered by Alexander the Great.

Reports from the region say the militants used explosives and bulldozers to raze the ancient monuments.

It follows the destruction of another ancient city, Nimrud, which has been condemned as a "war crime" by the UN.

UN condemns destruction of Nimrud as a 'war crime'

The United Nations has condemned as a war crime its assault on the relics of one of humanity's earliest civilisations.

For almost two thousand years the Assyrian empire ruled over a huge area of Iraq and Syria, with the ancient city of Nimrud at its heart.

As Paul Davies reports, Islamic State terrorists are said to have reduced Nimrud to rubble.

ITV News' Paul Davies reports:

Unesco condemns 'war crime' destruction of Nimrud

The Director General of Unesco has called the Islamic State destruction of the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq "a war crime."

I condemn in the strongest possible manner the destruction of the archaeological site of Nimrud site in Iraq.

This is yet another attack against the Iraqi people, reminding us that nothing is safe from the cultural cleansing underway in the country: it targets human lives, minorities, and is marked by the systematic destruction of humanity’s ancient heritage.

– Unesco Director General Irina Bokova
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