…As Rouhani evokes Iran-Iraq war in call to defy US pressure***
The Nigerian Air Force says the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, has successfully destroyed some Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) facilities and equipment at Alafa Yagayaga in Sambisa forest.
According to the Air force, ATF has also destroyed a suspected BHT ammunition depot in Kusuma on the fringes of Lake Chad, Borno.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
He said that the air strikes was in continuation of OPERATION THUNDER STRIKE 2 which commenced on Sept.3.
“The air strikes against BHTs at Alafa Yagayaga were targeted at structures within the settlement identified via previous Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions to be rendezvous (RV) points for the insurgents.
“Consequently, a combination of NAF fighter aircraft and helicopter gunships were detailed to carry out air interdiction on the locations while the NAF ISR aircraft conducted Battle Damage Assessment (BDA).
“The attack platforms acquired the targets and took turns to attack the location, destroying the structures and killing most of the BHTs in the process.
“The few surviving BHTs, seen fleeing the area, were strafed and neutralised by the helicopter gunships,” he said.
Daramola said that the attack at Kusuma was initiated, following credible intelligence indicating the presence of a BHT logistics/ammunition depot within the settlement.
“Accordingly, the ATF detailed a fighter aircraft to attack the insurgents’ position while the NAF ISR aircraft conducted BDA.”
He explained that at end of the attacks, the BDA revealed a direct hit on the ammunition depot which was engulfed in fire.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information added some other adjoining BHT structures were also destroyed and the occupying terrorists neutralised.
In the meantime, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani evoked memories of the devastating Iran-Iraq war on Saturday to call for unity in the face of economic hardships and US pressure.
“Today, the government is on the frontlines. This is an economic, psychological and propoganda war,” Rouhani said on state television.
“We had sweet days and we had hard days during the sacred defence,” he said, using the official name for the war with Iraq which claimed up to two million lives between 1980 and 1988.
“But our nation never backed down. Now, too, our nation will not bow before the pressure of a new group in the White House.”
Iran’s economy has been battered in recent months, in part due to Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, which had lifted sanctions in return for curbs to its atomic programme.
Prices are rising and shortages are widespread, while Iran’s currency has lost around 70 percent of its value against the dollar compared with a year ago.
Rouhani said that the United States is pressuring Iran and at the same time calling for negotiations “every day”.
“Which one should we believe? Your messages, or your brutal acts? If you want the best for the Iranian people why are you pressuring them?”
Rouhani called for unity after weeks of pressure from both reformist and hardline factions over his handling of the economic crisis.
“We cannot fight America, the left and the right at the same time. We cannot fight on three fronts,” he said.
The president also acknowledged the mounting economic pressure.
“(Yet) we cannot back down from our goals because of temporary difficulties. Remember those (war) days, our heartaches brought us to eventual victories.”
Rouhani made the remarks during an event named after Mohammad-Ali Rajai, Iran’s second president whose assasination in August 1981 was blamed on the political-militant group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
Additional report from AFP