June 27, 2014 By

ISIS Surrounds Balad Air Base in Iraq


The ISIS rebels have attacked the Balad Air Force Base in Iraq, the largest air base in the country and one of America’s most important military outposts, surrounding it on three sides.

“We assess the group continues to threaten the air base and Iraqi Security Force control of the air base as it moves south towards Baghdad,” a senior U.S. intelligence official told reporters on Tuesday. Balad has plenty of vehicles and aircraft on the base including Russian-made transport helicopters, surveillance planes, and a fleet of pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that the long delivery delay of F-16 planes from the U.S. left troops without air support and that Iraq had bought used fighter jets from Russia and Belarus to fight the ISIS. In an interview with BBC Arabic, he blamed US’s “long, very slow way” of delivering the 36 aircrafts adding that they should have bought the jets also from the UK, France and Russia.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters in Washington yesterday that the remaining 200 of 500 Hellfire missiles approved for delivery to Iraq would be sent in the coming weeks. Maliki had requested for US military assistance to fight the Sunni insurgents and Obama has agreed to send 300 military advisers for aiding the Iraqi army.

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