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Air Strike Destroys Huge Islamic State Car-Bomb Factory In Iraq

An air strike in the Iraqi town of Hawijah has completely leveled one of the Islamic State's (IS) largest car-bomb factories, causing heavy casualties and extensive destruction, officials say.

The blast caused by the strike and the destruction of explosive material was heard as far as Kirkuk, a city under Kurdish control that lies 55 kilometers away.

Iraqi officials said the strike was carried out by a U.S.-led coalition.

The facility, which included tanks, Humvees, and large quantities of explosives, was "the biggest factory in Iraq and Syria," an Iraqi colonel told AFP.

Muhammad Khalil al-Juburi, the deputy head of the Kirkuk Province security committee, confirmed details of the attack, which took place early on June 3.

Both said a large number of IS militants and civilians were killed and wounded in the strike on the edge of Hawijah, but neither gave exact figures.

The coalition issued a statement listing its air strikes in Iraq and Syria over a period of 24 hours straddling June 2 and 3.

It mentions that a vehicle explosives factory was struck in the Hawijah area, but does not provide any details.

Mobile-phone photos obtained by AFP that were said to show the site of the explosion pictured damage on a massive scale.

They show a huge field of debris -- cinderblocks, metal roofing, the twisted remains of vehicles -- that stretches as far as the eye can see.

IS has made vehicle bombs, in some cases huge trucks packed with explosives, a central feature of its military tactics.

Hawijah, located 225 kilometers north of Baghdad, is an IS stronghold that lies at the crossroads of several fronts in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera reported that dozens of people were killed in air strikes targeting IS sites in Hawijah.

Civilians were among at least 70 people killed in the air strikes on a warehouse, sources told the Arab TV network.

Based on reporting by AFP and Al-Jazeera

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