‘IS using kids as human shields to stop airstrikes’
The Islamic State (IS) has allegedly resorted to using human shields, particularly children, to prevent the US-led coalition from carrying out airstrikes in key areas such as Ramadi in Iraq, according to a senior US official this week.
In a media briefing at the White House hours after the bombers began hitting targets in eastern Syria, the official said fighters were using children as escorts while manoeuvring in the street, reported CBS News.
By yesterday it was not clear if any civilians had been killed or injured during the joint air attack by US and UK forces. The attack started on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the IS has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s massacre at a centre for the disabled in San Bernadino, California, in which 14 people were killed. It said the married couple who carried out the attack followed the IS.
The Daily Mail reported that the FBI announced it was now investigating the shootings – allegedly carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook (28) and his wife, Tashfeen Malik (27) – in which 21 people were injured as an “act of terror”. A duffel bag stuffed with home-made pipe bombs was found at the couple’s home.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that four British Tornado bombers took off from the Royal Air Force base in Cyprus and used laser-guided bombs to hit six targets in the Omar oilfields early on Thursday morning. These oilfields are controlled by the IS.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday – after MPs voted by 397 to 223 in favour of sending the jets to seek out IS targets in Syria – that the terror group was using the fields to fund attacks on the West.
The BBC reported on Thursday that more British planes had been sent to the Cyprus base in anticipation of further airstrikes in Syria. British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the broadcaster that eight more jets – two Tornados and six Typhoons – had been sent to join the attacks.
“I can confirm that four British Tornados were in action after the vote last night attacking oilfields in eastern Syria – the Omar oilfields – from which the Daesh [Islamic State] terrorists receive a huge part of their revenue.
“This strikes a very real blow at the oil and the revenue on which the Daesh terrorists depend,” said Fallon.
The UK is on high alert after unconfirmed media reports said the IS was planning to attack. European security agencies cited specific intelligence that had been obtained, which said that British IS operatives in Syria and Iraq were being tasked with returning home to launch an attack.
Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper also reported that one of the gunmen behind the Paris attacks reportedly visited two British cities in the run-up to the attack in which 130 people were killed last month.
Counterterrorism officials established that the man, who has not been publicly identified, travelled to the UK earlier this year. They also found that a string of phone calls were made by one or more of the IS-inspired gunmen in the runup to the attack.
The man was thought to have slipped briefly into the UK and travelled to London, Birmingham and Kent, where he was understood to have met individuals suspected of being capable of plotting or assisting terrorist activity in Britain.
– Staff reporter
BLOODY SCENE A policeman removes a gun from the site where Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were shot dead in San Bernardino, California, this week