Australian fighters target Islamic militants in Iraq

Australian officials say two bombs were dropped by Australian fighter jets in an assault against Islamic State militants in Iraq. 

Australian fighter jets have made their first strike against Islamic State militants in Iraq, the Australian Defense Force said on Thursday, where a U.S.-led coalition is engaged in a fierce bombing campaign to weaken the group.

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australian special forces troops would be deployed to Iraq and that its aircraft would also join the air strikes.

"Overnight the Australian Air Task Group operating in the Middle East attacked its first target in Iraq," the Australian Defense Force said in a statement.

"Two bombs were dropped from an F/A-18F Super Hornet on to an ISIL facility. All aircraft exited the target area safely and returned to base," it said, using an alternate name for the group.

The United States has been bombing Islamic State and other groups in Syria for almost two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in neighboring Iraq since August.

Australia began flying combat operations in Iraq on Sunday, but its jets pulled out of their first potential strike against Islamic State militants over fears of killing civilians, the military said earlier this week. 

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