Airstrikes destroyed around 200 vehicles believed to be carrying ISIS fighters fleeing one of their former strongholds, a senior Iraqi official told NBC News on Thursday.
The attack targeting a convoy killed an unknown number of people.
Brig. Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operation Command, said helicopters and warplanes fired at vehicles on road about 12 miles south of Fallujah on Wednesday.
“All ISIS militants traveling in these vehicles were killed,” he said without providing a number of people who died.
“”I heard the sounds of the explosions and I saw the light of the burning vehicles””
Although the Iraqi military initially said that it had acted alone, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad later confirmed the U.S. had participated in the strikes.
“We started to chase ISIS convoys on Tuesday. On the same day, the U.S.-led coalition destroyed those convoys alongside Iraqi F-16s,” the embassy tweeted in Arabic on Thursday.
A senior American defense official said U.S. strikes had “hit a large number of vehicles.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the press, the official said initial U.S. estimates suggested that aircraft involved in the operation may have killed as many as 240 people in more than 50 vehicles. However, the official cautioned that those numbers could change.