|A Canadian Forces CF-18 from 400 squadron touches down in Kuwait. DND/The Canadian Press|
Canada has struck another blow against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the Department of National Defence said Tuesday as Canadians gathered in cities and towns across the country to mark Remembrance Day.
A CF-18 fighter-bomber used a laser-guided bomb to hit an artillery position Tuesday near the city of Bayji, north of Tikrit, said Johanna Quinney, a spokeswoman for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson.
The airstrikes were being conducted near Bayji, which sits roughly midway between the cities of Baghdad and Kirkuk, in support of Iraqi forces conducting localized offensives in the area, Quinney said.
U.S. and coalition jets have been pounding the area in recent weeks, destroying bunkers, vehicles and least one anti-aircraft gun in recent days.
A technical briefing on the strike has been scheduled for Thursday, but an update on DND’s website said, “The use of air power contributing to the destruction of ISIL infrastructure and equipment denies them the military means to attack (Iraqi security forces) or coalition assets.”
In a statement, Nicholson acknowledged the fact that the strike took place on Remembrance Day as he thanked the military personnel taking part in Canada’s combat mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“I commend the nearly 600 men and women in uniform for their tremendous work today in the international fight to degrade ISIL,” Nicholson said.
“This strike demonstrates Canada’s firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism and stand with our allies against ISIL’s atrocities against innocent women, children and men.”
Just over a week ago, Canadian bombs destroyed construction equipment that ISIL fighters were using to develop defensive positions near Fallujah, west of Baghdad — the only other successful strike as yet acknowledged by National Defence.
The militants had also been using the equipment to reshape a local dam, flooding nearby land to force Iraqi forces on to roads that had been mined and to deny a water supply to local civilians.