Jan. 2 - Iraqi jets carry out air strikes in Anbar against gunmen suspected of being members of a Sunni militant group which operates in Iraq and neighboring Syria. Nathan Frandino reports.
New aerial video released by Iraq's defense ministry shows air strikes against gunmen suspected of being Sunni militants. The air strikes took place in the Anbar province just a day after gunmen stormed police stations in several nearby cities. Ministry officials believe the militants belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, one of the major Islamist groups engaged in fighting in neighboring Syria. Ali al-Sarai, a political commentator in Baghdad, explains. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ALI AL-SARAI, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, SAYING: "Those who know the geographical nature of the province will realize that the bigger part in reality is that it's a crossing point for armed groups from Iraq to Syria, and from Syria to Iraq. In view of that fact, there is a joint co-ordination between Iraq, Jordan and the U.S., and that's why these military operations and air strikes were launched in the desert." The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant operates in Sunni areas in Iraq, where Shi'ite Muslims are in the majority. Violence in Iraq has hit its highest levels since the sectarian fighting of 2006-7, which killed tens of thousands of people.