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US-led Strikes Hit Islamic State 'Capital'

  • VOA News

FILE - A man runs while pointing at a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, eastern Syria, which is controlled by the Islamic State, Nov. 27, 2014.

FILE - A man runs while pointing at a site hit by what activists said were airstrikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa, eastern Syria, which is controlled by the Islamic State, Nov. 27, 2014.

Syrian activists said a wave of U.S.-led airstrikes has been carried out against Islamic State militants in and around the city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of the jihadist group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday as many as 30 strikes hit overnight and targeted Islamic State positions in Raqqa and the Division 17 air base, which the militants seized earlier this year from government forces.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said it has been "a long time" since this large a number of targets have been hit.

A casualty toll was not immediately available.

Also Sunday, an Egyptian court designated the Islamic State group as a "terrorist" group.

The court said that it also considers all of the affiliates of the insurgent group to be terrorist organizations, including Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Egyptian jihadi group that pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group earlier this month.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has often attacked Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last year.

Turkey denies claim

Turkey said Saturday a Kurdish claim that Islamic State militants attacked the Syrian border city of Kobani from the Turkish side of the border is a lie.

A statement from Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said Turkish security forces have taken "all necessary precautions" along the border.

A Kurdish official and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a vehicle used in a car bombing in Kobani Saturday crossed over the border from Turkey.

Kurds also claim the militants are using grain silos in Turkey from which to launch attacks on Kobani.

Ankara has consistently denied Kurdish assertions that it is cooperating with the Islamic State group, saying the group is also a threat to Turkey's security.

Turkey has so far been reluctant to join the U.S.-led coalition fighting to push back Islamic State fighters inside Syria.

Kurdish forces, backed by coalition airstrikes, have been battling the Islamic State group for control of Kobani for more than two months with neither side gaining a big advantage.

Canadian woman reportedly kidnapped

The government of Canada is investigating reports that IS militants have kidnapped a Canadian woman in Syria.

The Canadian Foreign Ministry said Ottawa is "pursuing all appropriate channels" to seek further information.

Several Israeli media reported Sunday that websites “known to be close” to IS extremists are reporting that Canadian-born Gill Rosenberg has been kidnapped.

Rosenberg is believed to have traveled from Israel to Iraq in early November to join a Kurdish militia on the Syrian border. At the time, she told Israel Radio she had contacted the Kurdish fighters on Facebook.

Rosenberg has been living in Israel since 2009. The 31-year-old previously served in the Israeli military, and had worked as a pilot in Canada.

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