The United States has bombed militants near Baghdad in support of Iraqi forces, striking close to the capital for the first time in its expanded campaign against Islamic State jihadists.
But in a sign of their growing strength, a monitoring group said the jihadists had managed to bring down a Syrian warplane conducting strikes over their stronghold of Raqa in north-central Syria.
The US air strike against IS fighters in the Sadr al-Yusufiyah area, 15 miles from Baghdad, came as world diplomats pledged to support Iraq in its fight against the militants and less than a week after US President Barack Obama ordered a “relentless” war against IS.
"US military forces continued to attack (IS) terrorists in Iraq, employing attack and fighter aircraft to conduct two air strikes Sunday and Monday in support of Iraqi security forces near Sinjar and southwest of Baghdad," the US Central Command said in a statement.
"The air strike southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit (IS) targets as Iraqi forces go on offence, as outlined in the president’s speech last Wednesday."