UAE claims air force has hit ISIL-held oil refineries

Emirates' state news agency says F-16s currently deployed in Jordan were used, but does not specify location of attacks.

    Emirati pilots at an air base in Jordan in a photo released by the WAM state news agency earlier this month [AP]
    Emirati pilots at an air base in Jordan in a photo released by the WAM state news agency earlier this month [AP]

    Fighter jets based in Jordan belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have struck oil refineries under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group, the UAE's state news agency has claimed.

    F-16s based in Jordan "targeted oil refineries controled by the Daesh (ISIL) organisation, with the aim of drying up its sources of finance," WAM said on Monday, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.

    The agency reported that the strike was a "fresh attack" and that similar strikes had occured on February 10 and February 12,  but did not specify the location of the targets.

    WAM said on Monday that the F-16 fighter jets had returned safely to Jordan where they were deployed earlier this month under orders from Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

    Meanwhile, Jordan's information minister said on Monday that Bahrain had also deployed fighter jets to Jordan to support its fight against the armed group.

    "This move highlights the brotherly ties between Jordan and Bahrain, and comes in line with our belief in the importance of the war against terrorism," Information Minister Mohammad al-Momani told the AFP news agency.

    "Jordan appreciates the support provided by Bahrain, as we also appreciate UAE support too."

    Bahraini state media did not specify the number of aircraft that had been sent to Jordan on Sunday but said the deployment was to assist in "international efforts to eliminate terrorism".

    The latest air strikes come just hours after Egypt announced that its air force had undertaken strikes in Libya, earlier in the day.

    The Egyptian bombings took place a day after Libyan fighters claiming a link to ISIL released a video on Sunday purporting to show the killing of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped there.

    'Complete solidarity'

    The UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said the killings underlined the need for greater support for Libya's UN recognised parliament in Tobruk, which was ousted from the capital Tripoli last August.

    The UAE "supports, with all its capabilities, Egypt's efforts in eradicating terrorism and violence directed at its nationals and affirms its position in standing alongside and its complete solidarity with it," Sheikh Abdullah told WAM.

    The UAE is reported to have carried out air strikes from Egyptian bases last year in an abortive attempt to prevent Tripoli's fall to armed militias.

    The Gulf state is also a member of the US-led coalition waging a campaign of air raids targeting ISIL in Syria.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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