Middle East updates / Iran has never conducted air strikes against Islamic State … – Haaretz

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12:47 P.M. Iran has never conducted air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, official says

Iran has not launched any air strikes against Islamic State targets in neighboring Iraq, a senior Iranian official told Reuters on Wednesday.

“Iran has never been involved in any air strikes against the Daesh (Islamic State) targets in Iraq. Any cooperation in such strikes with America is also out of question for Iran,” the senior official said on condition of anonymity. (Reuters)

6:30 A.M. Iran has conducted airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq, a U.S. official confirmed Tuesday.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby was asked by reporters if the U.S. was aware of Iran’s involvement over Iraq, following recent media reports of possible strikes by Iranian jets.

“We have the indications they have flown these missions in recent days in eastern Iraq,” Kirby said in broadcast remarks.

The strikes were not coordinated with the U.S., and may be the first time Tehran has launched manned aircraft from inside Iran to strike Islamic State targets in Iraq, Kirby was quoted as saying by the Navy Times.

He said the U.S. would not take a position on the flights, saying it was Iraq’s airspace and up to Iraq to decide who could fly over it.

“We ask that they do those things in keeping with the idea that we don’t further inflame sectarian tensions inside Iraq,” Kirby said.

He said the U.S. was aware that Baghdad has “communications” with Tehran about military activities.

Iran has offered help to the coalition against Islamic State but its request was refused by the U.S., which has vowed it would not coordinate with Iran on military actions inside Iraq.

Washington is concerned that Iran, which backs the majority Shiite government, will provoke further resentment among Iraq’s Sunni minority. (DPA)

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