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Australia launches air strike against ISIS

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Tony AbbottAustralian fighter jets have made their first strike against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) announced .

In carrying out the overnight airstrike, pilots of an F/A-18F Super Hornet dropped two bombs on “an ISIL facility”, Xinhua reported.

“Two bombs were dropped from an F/A-18F Super Hornet onto an ISIL facility,” the ADF statement said, using the government’s preferred acronym for the IS.

“All aircraft exited the target area safely and returned to base. No further details of this mission are available at this time”.

Pilots of the Super Hornets had aborted one of their previous airstrikes because of concerns about causing civilian casualties.

The ADF is working with some other Western and Middle Eastern nations to push back the terrorist group that has large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Australia has contributed six F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets, a surveillance aircraft, a refueller, 200 special forces soldiers and 400 military support staff to the US-led coalition against the IS.

Speaking on Fairfax radio Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the government was still working on the legal framework for the 200 special forces members to be deployed in Iraq.

The prime minister played down the potential for special forces to be engaged or involved in combat operations – although he did not rule it out.

Abbott went out of his way to praise opposition leader, Bill Shorten, for his bipartisan stance on Australian troops being sent to the Middle East.

“He (Shorten) is an Australian patriot. He fully understands the threat that ISIL poses,” Abbott said.

“He wants to see Australian forces deployed in a sensible way to protect our country and protect the wider world and I’m confident we will continue to have strong bipartisanship from the opposition”.