BAGHDAD, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Air Force on Thursday carried out airstrikes on the positions of Islamic State (IS) militants inside Syria near the border, the Iraqi government said.
A statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said "our air force carried out deadly airstrikes against the positions of the terrorist IS gangs in Syria near the Iraqi border."
The airstrikes, carried out by the order of Abadi as the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, were conducted to protect the Iraqi forces near the border with Syria in western Iraq, the statement said.
"Such airstrikes would help accelerate the elimination of IS gangs in the (Middle East) region after we have eliminated them inside Iraq," the statement added.
Previously, the Iraqi air force carried out such preemptive airstrikes against IS militants inside Syria with Iraqi F-16 fighter jets.
On Dec. 9, 2017, Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.