IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports: An Iranian McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II jet has struck Islamic State targets in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, footage shot by regional media shows.
At least one F-4 is seen conducting a bombing run against ground targets in the footage shot by Al Jazeera, which erroneously identified the aircraft as an Iraqi fighter. Iran and Turkey are the only regional operators of the F-4, and the location of the incident not far from the Iranian border, and Turkey’s unwillingness to get involved in the conflict militarily, indicate this to be an Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) aircraft.
While the IRIAF is known to have contributed Sukhoi Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’ ground attack aircraft to the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq (ostensibly donated to the Iraqi Air Force, but believed to be crewed by Iranian pilots), this footage is the first visual evidence of direct IRIAF involvement in the conflict.
The Al Jazeera footage, which was shot on 30 November, shows the IRIAF F-4 supporting Iraqi forces retaking the town of Sa’adiya in what was purported to be the government’s largest operation against the Islamic State since June. Its release comes weeks after IHS Jane’s reported growing evidence of Iranian involvement in the war in Iraq. [Continue reading…]