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US-Led Airstrikes Target Islamic State Leaders in Iraq


Iraq cities: Mosul, Tikrit, Beiji, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, Baghdad
Iraq cities: Mosul, Tikrit, Beiji, Kirkuk, Karbala, Fallujah, Baghdad

U.S. officials said U.S.-led airstrikes hit a convoy of Islamic State vehicles near the Iraqi city of Mosul Saturday.

They said the 10-vehicle convoy was moving near a gathering of Islamic State leaders.

U.S. officials could not confirm whether Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was among the leaders thought to be at the meeting or if any of the group's leaders were wounded or killed.

U.S.-led forces have carried out near daily airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq.

The al-Jazeera and al-Hadath television channels said more than a dozen people were killed and several dozen wounded in the strike Saturday in the town of al-Qaim.

Witnesses told the Reuters news agency the airstrike targeted a house where senior Islamic State leaders were meeting.

Iraqi officials have not yet commented on the report.

Al-Qaim and the neighboring Syrian town of Albukamal are on a strategic supply route linking territory held by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

US troops to Iraq

On Friday, President Barack Obama authorized the U.S. military to deploy up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq as part of the mission to combat Islamic State militants. The White House says the troops will not serve in a combat role, but will help train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the group.

Obama also will ask Congress for $5.6 billion to help fund the campaign.

Senior administration officials said the request includes $1.6 billion to establish an Iraqi train-and-equip fund to support the training effort.

U.S. officials said some of the additional personnel being sent to Iraq will operate at centers outside Baghdad and Irbil to advise and assist the Iraqis. Others will be scattered across the country to train Iraqi forces.

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