Syria air strike: Twitter user Abdulkader Hariri live tweets US Islamic State attack 'before Pentagon breaks news'

Hariri speculates 'huge explosions' might be 'beginning of US air strikes on Isis'

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The Independent Online

A Syrian twitter user is believed to have broken news of US air strikes in Syria 30 minutes before the Pentagon confirmed the military had launched attacks on the Isis stronghold of Raqqa alongside other countries.

The Twitter user, named Abdulkader Hariri, said “huge explosions” had shook Raqqa at just after 2am local time. He speculated the explosions “might be the beginning of US air strikes on Isis HQs in Raqqa”.

The Pentagon made the announcement at about 9.30pm EST, according to Vox. Mr Hariri’s first tweet came half an hour before this, it reports.

At 2.35 am he said the sky was “full of drones” and the sound of warplanes could be heard. At about the same time, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm John Kirby confirmed air strikes had targeted Isis targets in Syria using fighter jets, bombers and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The air strikes are a major escalation of the US military response to Isis and come after President Barack Obama stressed it would not coordinate with the government of President Bashar al-Assad in any way in its fight against the group.

Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates are thought to have also been involved in the air strikes - although only Jordan has confirmed its involvement.

Syrian state television reported on Tuesday that Washington informed Syria's United Nations envoy before the attacks began, quoting Syria's Foreign Ministry as the source. However, Syria did not formally consent to them taking place in its territory.