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USA airstrikes block evacuation of Islamic State militants

31 August 2017

But officials of the USA -led coalition said they will continue to monitor the convoy and aren't ruling out more airstrikes.

Islamic State group fighters and their families began evacuating a Syrian-Lebanese border region on Monday, under an unprecedented deal to end three years of militant presence there, Syrian state television and Hizballah said.

"According to an agreement between ISIL terrorists, the Lebanese Hizbollah and the Syrian regime, hundreds of ISIL militants left the Lebanese border areas and were taken with their arms and ammunition toward the Iraqi border areas", the Kurdistan Region Security Council said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"To prevent the convoy from moving further east, we cratered the road and destroyed a small bridge", Mr Dillon said, without providing further details on their location.

Iraqi social media users expressed outrage at the evacuation deal, which came a week into a Lebanese army offensive against ISIL and a joint Syrian army-Hezbollah operation against the group on Syrian territory.

He said 11 Hezbollah fighters died in the weeklong operation on the Syrian side of the border.

U.S. officials confirmed the airstrikes took place to prevent buses carrying armed ISIS fighters continuing eastward.

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His meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders are aimed at encouraging the resumption of peace talks. Rivlin, in turn, criticized the UN's treatment of Israel in the past.

The group, which has been classified as a terrorist by the U.S. since it was founded following Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s, has grown in prominence following its victory in 2006 war with Israel. US officials said Lebanon's military, which enjoys broad confidence from the public, was the only institution stable and credible enough to hold together the country's delicate political situation.

"In accordance with the law of armed conflict, the coalition will take action against ISIS whenever and wherever we are able to without harming civilians", the officials said.

"Iraq should not pay the price for agreements that affect its security and sovereignty", Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jubouri said Wednesday, adding that the deal was "a return to square one". "We are monitoring them in real time".

"Today, I tell the Lebanese and the whole world that we have beat terrorism".

The head of Lebanon's internal security agency says eight Lebanese soldiers who had been in captivity of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group since 2014 are nearly certainly dead.

Ms Ahmed said the SDF remains focused on the Raqqa battle for now and has no firm plans to launch an assault in Deir al-Zor province, which is further down the Euphrates towards the Iraqi frontier and remains nearly entirely under IS control. The U.S. supports the Lebanese army but not the Russia-backed Syrian army, led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "Either to go on with the battle and not know the fate of the soldiers or give in and know the fate of the soldiers", Aoun said.

Lebanese army General Fadi Daoud said the area had been secured, but that there was still a danger of mines laid by the jihadists.

USA airstrikes block evacuation of Islamic State militants