US airstrikes block evac­u­a­tion of Is­lamic State mil­i­tants

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - OBITUARIES -

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 airstrikes came amid U.S. crit­i­cism of the deal, re­flect­ing a grow­ing out­rage within the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion over the de­ci­sion to give the mil­i­tants safe pas­sage from the bat­tle­field in­stead of killing them, and Iran­backed Hezbol­lah’s lead­ing role in it.

The de­vel­op­ments also were an em­bar­rass­ment for the U.S.-backed Le­banese mil­i­tary, which agreed to the deal and had de­clared vic­tory over the mil­i­tants.

U.S. of­fi­cials said the airstrikes to dis­rupt the flee­ing mil­i­tants were in­tended to send a strong sig­nal that the deal, while help­ing to clear IS from the bor­der, un­der­mined a broader U.S.-led strat­egy for de­feat­ing the group in Syria and Iraq.

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