U.S. airstrikes block evac­u­a­tion of ISIS mil­i­tants headed to Iraq

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

BEIRUT — U.S. airstrikes blocked the ad­vance of an Is­lamic State con­voy car­ry­ing mil­i­tants to­ward Iraq on Wed­nes­day, de­rail­ing a Hezbol­lah-ne­go­ti­ated deal that re­moved the ex­trem­ists from the Le­banon-Syria bor­der, where they have been for years.

The strikes came amid U.S. crit­i­cism of the deal, re­flect­ing out­rage within the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion over the de­ci­sion to give the mil­i­tants safe pas­sage from the bat­tle­field, and Iran-backed Hezbol­lah’s lead­ing role in it.

The de­vel­op­ments were an em­bar­rass­ment for the U.S.-backed Le­banese mil­i­tary, which had de­clared vic­tory over the mil­i­tants. U.S. of­fi­cials said the airstrikes were in­tended to send a sig­nal that the deal un­der­mined a U.S.-led strat­egy for de­feat­ing the group in Syria and Iraq.

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