Tue Dec 7, 2010 7:6AM
US fighter jets have reportedly pounded a region in Iraq's central governorate of Babil months after Washington declared an end to combat operations in Iraq late August.
Iraqi security sources said that on Monday, US warplanes shelled a region lying north of the provincial capital of Hilla, Aswat al-Iraq news agency reported. “A number of US jets pounded this afternoon al-Buhayrat region, al-Askandariya district," said a security official, noting that Iraqi authorities had not been informed about the operation. “The attack could [have] targeted some armed cells in the region,” he added. It was not clear if the airstrike had left any casualties.
The US involvement in a military operation comes despite the expiry of the mandate of US combat troops in war-torn Iraq at the end of August. Upon the expiry, Washington withdrew its troops from the Iraqi soil after seven years of military presence in the country, but left some 50,000 US troops for what it calls "training and advising" purposes.
The Monday airstrike is not the first time the US forces have engaged in a military operation in Iraq after the August expiry. On September 6, US troops engaged in a gun battle in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, opening fire on suspected militants, who were believed to have entered an Iraqi military complex in the center of the capital city. More than 12 people were killed and dozens more left injured during the attack. Also in September, US and Iraqi forces launched a joint operation in Fallujah which resulted in the deaths of at least seven civilians.