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Australia ends air strike campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

The Australian Royal Air Force on January 14 carried out its final sorties in Iraq, concluding its air campaign against Islamic State as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Australian Department of Defence said on Tuesday that the strikes by two RAAF Super Hornets were the Australian Air Task Group’s final stirke mission over Iraq.

Australian F/A-18 Hornets have conducted continuous operations in Iraq since their first mission in October 2014. Last month, Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said the government had decided to scale back its mission after consultations with Coalition allies following more than 2,700 sorties.

The ATG will continue to support the air campaign with continued deployment of an RAAF KC-30 air-to-air refueling plane and E7-A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, as well as maintenance and logistics.

““The ADF will continue to work with our coalition and Iraqi partners over the coming months to establish their ongoing requirements and assess where they can make the most valuable contribution, as we work to maintain the gains in that region,” Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said.

Australia is the only Coalition member other than the U.S. to admit to civilian casualties. On September 30, the Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston reported that a March 30 airstrike in Mosul killed or injured eight civilians, including a child. The Defence Ministry said a June 7 strike against ISIS in Mosul may have killed a civilian who was in the area.

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