ISIS Fires at Australian C-130 Plane Carrying Relief in Iraq; Militants Use Deadly Cluster Bombs

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By Reissa Su | September 2, 2014 11:45 AM EST

ISIS militants sought to bring down an Australian transport aircraft while it was carrying out its humanitarian mission in Iraqi skies. According to a report by News Corp Australia, the C-130 Hercules plane managed to dodge the ISIS' gunfire as it flew close to the ground to drop relief packages to stranded civilians the northern Iraqi town of Amirli. The report said the incident took place last weekend.

REUTERS/AustralianDefenceForce
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules crew load supplies of biscuits, water and humanitarian supplies for an airdrop to isolated Iraqi civilians on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force. August 13, 2014.

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Humanitarian aid drops usually happen at night when the planes are less visible on the ground for militants to see clearly and take sure aim. Reports indicate that ISIS forces may have been firing based on the sounds they hear. Planes used to transport aid are darkened to minimise detection. They hover below 300 metres from the ground to drop relief packages containing biscuits, water and hygiene packs.

After ISIS fired, U.S. fighter jets that served as protectors of humanitarian aid planes responded to the attack. A high flying U.S. Air Force J-Star spy plane with powerful ground attack radars directed the fighter jets to ISIS forces on the ground.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters that he did not receive any information about the Aussie aid plane being in the line of fire. However, Mr Abbott said it was possible because the aircraft was in an "active combat zone."

Calling ISIS a "death cult", the Australian prime minister likened the atrocities committed by the militants to the horrific crimes of Nazis in the previous century. ISIS makes use of social media to advertise their "brutality" and recruit others to join their fight.

Mr Abbott said it was only right for the superpowers to "respond with extreme force" against Islamic State. He defended U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to launch airstrikes in Iraq and argued the world should be grateful.  He said Mr Obama was not displaying "trigger happy" behaviour and considered his options carefully before intervening in Iraq.

Mr Abbott praised the U.S. president for his wise and justifiable actions because no one should stand by and allow genocide to happen.

According to military experts, the Australian aircraft may take a significant hit from portable shoulder fired missiles. A rifle shot, if luck is on the shooter's side, may possibly bring down the plane. ISIS' attack on the Aussie plane is a reflection of the risk faced by Australians in humanitarian aid and weapons supply missions.  

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said ISIS has been using the banned cluster bombs in Syria. According to reports and based on photographic evidence by Kurdish officials, ISIS has been found to have used cluster bombs in their attacks on July 12 and August 14.

The New York-based human rights watchdog said it was the first news of ISIS using cluster bombs but no information has surfaced about the source of ISIS' supply. Cluster bombs were outlawed because they can kill and maim its human targets indiscriminately. Previous reports have indicated that the munitions had caused more deaths in the Syrian civil war than in the conflict in Lebanon in 2006.

The Human Rights Watch has called on the international community to support a treaty and impose an arms embargo in Syria and other armed groups to prevent widespread abuse. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/AustralianDefenceForce / )
A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules crew load supplies of biscuits, water and humanitarian supplies for an airdrop to isolated Iraqi civilians on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force. August 13, 2014.
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