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Canadian jets continue to bomb Islamic State after Trudeau win

A Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 Fighter jet from 409 Squadron sits on the tarmac in Kuwait on Oct. 28, 2014.

DN/THE CANADIAN PRES

Canadian warplanes are still bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq, taking part in an offensive to retake Sinjar from the militants, even three weeks after the election of Justin Trudeau's Liberals who campaigned on a pledge to withdraw the jet fighters.

Canadian Forces say CF-18 Hornets joined in coalition air strikes Thursday to aid the Kurdish offensive. The jets hit an Islamic State ammunition cache near Sinjar as well as an ISIL fighting position near the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

Captain Kirk Sullivan, with Canadian Joint Operations Command, said the strikes were "in support of Iraqi security forces operations to clear ISIS from Sinjar and seize portions of a significant ISIS supply route between Ar Raqqah, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq."

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Since the Oct. 19 federal election that saw the Trudeau Liberals defeat the Harper Conserv- atives, Canadian fighter jets have conducted air strikes 11 times in Iraq, destroying Islamic State fighting positions and ammunition caches.

The Canadian military says CF-18s will continue to fly in support of the air campaign against the Islamic State until it's ordered to stand down. Canada's mission is called Operation Impact.

"Operation Impact continues for the time being under the mandate previously directed by government," Capt. Sullivan said.

"The Canadian Armed Forces stands ready to implement government of Canada direction when it comes and will liaise with coalition partners to investigate options, and transition our military operations in the region."

Mr. Trudeau, speaking to reporters Thursday, could not say when the fighter jets will be withdrawn, but emphasized he intends to live up to his promise.

"I made it very clear that it is Canada's intention to withdraw from the bombing mission but to do it in a way that is responsible and in co-ordination with our allies," he said.

"We will have more to announce in the coming weeks."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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