epa04412925 A handout picture released by the US Navy shows an F/A-18C Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87, preparing to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) to conduct strike missions against IS (Islamic State) targets in Syria, in the Arabian Gulf, 23 September 2014. The United States and allied forces launched airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syrian territory for the first time, the Pentagon said. The bombings were the first against Islamic State militants in Syria. The US had previously bombed Islamic State targets in Iraq, but said that it would pursue the group in Syria if necessary. EPA/ROBERT BURCK/US NAVY/HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY