Dozens of Daesh terrorists have been killed after Iraqi aircraft pounded the positions of the Tafkiri militants near the border with Syria, the Iraqi army says.
Iraq's Joint Operations Command (JOC) confirmed in a statement on Thursday that the Iraqi Air Force had carried out two strikes on al-Qa'im the previous day.
According to the command, the first airstrike targeted a two-storey building housing 25, mostly foreign militants, led by a commander named as Abu Maysar al-Kawkazi from the Caucasus region.
Among the foreign militants who are operating in Syria and Iraq, there is a significant number of Chechens and other extremists from North Caucasus, who were previously fighting against Russian security forces.
The JOC noted that the second strike hit a hideout hosting 30 to 40 Daesh Takfiri terrorists, also mostly foreigners.
The statement strongly rejected allegations that the air force had targeted civilians in the Daesh-held area of al-Qa'im, describing the claims as propaganda by the Takifiri terrorist group.
Amaq, a news outlet affiliated to Daesh, released a video late Wednesday, claiming that dozens of civilians had died in air attacks by Iraqi jets.
The JOC has said a blast there was caused by a car bomb that either went off accidentally or was detonated by Daesh terrorists for propaganda purposes.
Iraqi officials have called for a thorough investigation into the air raids. Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri has said those responsible for the tragedy must be brought to justice, and receive due punishment.
The airstrikes came as government forces and their allies pushed ahead with a multipronged operation to flush Daesh extremists out of Mosul, which serves as their last stronghold in Iraq.
On Wednesday, Iraqi forces recaptured eight villages in northern Mosul from Daesh. The Iraq Special Forces further managed to wrest control over al-Elam neighborhood in eastern Mosul.
The commander of the Nineveh Liberation Operation, Lieutenant General Abdul Amir Yarallah, announced in a statement that the area was "fully liberated" and the Iraqi national flag was raised over several buildings there.
On October 17, Iraqi army soldiers and their allied forces launched an operation to retake Mosul from Daesh terrorists.
The Iraqi forces’ advance has, however, been slowed down due to the presence of hundreds of thousands of civilians, many of whom are prevented from leaving Mosul by Daesh.