The government announced today the most recent updates regarding bombing Daesh.
The RAF is continuing to support Iraqi forces in their effort to liberate western Mosul. The operating environment in the city is very challenging, particularly given the closely packed buildings. Also narrow streets, and the density of the urban population, our aircrew have continued to deliver precision strikes in close support of Iraqi troops on the ground.
Daesh’s current tactics, including the illegal use of civilians as human shields. Fighting from sites such as schools, hospitals, religious sites and civilian neighbourhoods, increases the risk to innocent life. While no military operations come without risk, particularly in dense urban environments and against such inhuman Daesh tactics, the RAF continues to take all steps necessary to minimise civilian casualties.
Typhoons Air Support
Royal Air Force Typhoons provided close air support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday 5 April. They consolidated their hold on the huge Tabqah Dam, recently seized from Daesh’s control, to the west of Raqqa. Daesh had tried, in their desperation, to counter-attack with suicide truck-bombs. Typhoons conducted an air strike to cut the approach road to the SDF positions and make any further truck-bomb attacks more difficult. Given attempts by both Daesh and Russia to claim falsely that Coalition air attacks have been directed at the dam itself, it is important to emphasise that the Typhoons’ target was two miles to the south-east and posed no threat whatsoever to the dam’s structural integrity.
A pair of Tornados meanwhile supported the Iraqi forces driving Daesh out of western Mosul, and used a Paveway IV guided bomb to engage a mortar position. The Tornados then flew down to Iraq’s western desert, where other Iraqi troops were operating against Daesh to the south of Al Qaim. A Brimstone missile was used to destroy a motorcycle combination carrying three terrorists at speed over the desert and a second Brimstone eliminated a light machine-gun position.
A Tornado and a Typhoon flew as a pair on Thursday 6 April, armed with a mix of Paveway IVs and Brimstone missiles. Over north-western Mosul, they engaged a Daesh motor team who were moving to a new position on a truck. A number of unidentified individuals were seen on foot nearby, so our aircrew waited patiently until they had moved away from the immediate proximity of the vehicle. A Brimstone missile, which has a smaller warhead than a Paveway, was then used to destroy the target.
The RAF flight then patrolled an area some 25 miles west of Kirkuk, where they were able to track a truck carrying a terrorist team who had been planting booby traps, scoring a direct hit on the moving vehicle with another Brimstone missile.
On Friday 7 April, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flew overwatch for Iraqi troops in west Mosul. Coalition surveillance aircraft identified two Daesh mortar teams: one firing from the doorway of a building, the other from a small courtyard. The Reaper’s crew were able to conduct successful attacks with Hellfire missiles which accounted for both teams.
The following day, a Tornado and Typhoon pair used two Paveway IVs to strike a truck-bomb factory in Mosul.
On Sunday 9 April, two Tornados patrolled the Iraqi border with Syria, where they bombed a stockpile of home-made explosives near Al Qaim.