U.S., allies conduct 23 air strikes in Syria, Iraq: U.S. military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A coalition led by the United States conducted 20 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and three against the militant group in Syria on Saturday, according to a statement released by the Combined Joint Task Force on Sunday.

In Iraq, the coalition conducted five strikes near the town of Hit, where it destroyed a facility for making vehicle bombs, a command and control facility, and one of the headquarters for Islamic State. Other air strikes were spread across the country, according to the statement. In Syria, the strikes hit and destroyed targets near Al Hasakah, Abu Kamal and Mar'a.

In a separate statement issued later, the coalition said it had also conducted air strikes in Iraq near Kubaysah, where it hit parts of a cement factory that it said Islamic State was using to house fighters, equipment and weapons.

The attacks near Hit and Kubaysah were part of a strategy to hamper Islamic State's ability to produce improvised explosive devices and prepare for attacks, which will set "the conditions in Anbar for the eventual liberation of the province by Iraqi Security Forces," said Colonel Christopher Garver, a public affairs officer for the task force, in the later statement.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande told reporters at the United Nations that his country destroyed an Islamic State training camp in Syria on Sunday.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)