New details of F-16 strikes on ISIS revealed

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The Netherlands are definitely part of the fight against terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) now that the first bombs have been dropped.

Four Dutch F-16's carried out missions yesterday. During the second action two F-16's dropped three bombs on ISIS armoured vehicles that were attacking Kurdish fighters in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, close to the Turkish-Syrian border. The armoured vehicles were destroyed and an unknown number of ISIS-combatants were probably killed, according to the Ministry of Defense.

According to Ko Colijn, defense expert at the Clingendael institute, the American tactical operation center is at Al Udeid air base in Qatar. There it is determined which targets will be attacked. These decisions are contributed to by representatives of all 40 of the countries participating in the anti ISIS mission, led by the Americans.

The big plans are determined elsewhere, in the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida. "But in Qatar it is determined which resources are available to eliminate targets." Coljin explains. If the Netherlands are asked to join an action, "our" soldier may refuse, but this rarely happens. "At most if we are likely to come close to Syria or if the likelihood of civilian casualties is large. A pilot can say during the flight: I won't do it."

Defense has deliberately not disclosed too many details about the Dutch attacks. When buildings are bombed such as ISIS command centers, it isn't a secret. When it comes to support for Iraqi or Kurdish troops, the exact location is not shared. That may give the other side more information than they already have.

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