Iraqi airstrikes destroyed around 200 vehicles believed to be carrying ISIS fighters fleeing one of their former strongholds — killing an unknown number of people, a senior official told NBC News on Thursday.
Brig. Yahya Rasool, a spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operation Command, said Iraqi helicopters and warplanes attacked the convoy on a road about 12 miles south of Fallujah on Wednesday.
“All ISIS militants traveling in these vehicles were killed,” he said without providing a number of people who died.
The Iraqi military released video of the airstrikes. The Pentagon said Wednesday that it did not have details about the incident.
It was unclear how the Iraqi military identified that the convoy was made up entirely of vehicles beloning to ISIS militants.
NBC News could not independently confirm either the Iraqi military’s account or the Reuters report.
However, civilians are known to have been displaced in the area where the attack occurred.
The alleged fighters were trying to escape the previously ISIS-held Fallujah area, Iraqi officials said.
A senior Iraqi commander declared Sunday that Fallujah was “fully liberated” from ISIS militants after a more than month-long military operation.
The Fallujah liberation has fueled an exodus of thousands of families, overwhelming camps for the displaced run by the government and aid groups.
In a separate incident on Wednesday, Iraqi helicopter strikes killed some 150 alleged ISIS militants as they tried to reach neighboring Syria, Rasool said.
“They were trying to escape in order to reach Syria then the Iraqi helicopters found a place ISIS were hiding,” he added.
That attack occurred around 2 miles west of Amiriyah Fallujah, according to Rasool.