Two British Tornado jets took off from Cyprus to support the Iraqi government forces situated in the west of Baghdad and fired four missiles named Brimstone in a “precise attack” against two IS vehicles. Further strikes were also carried out on Wednesday. On Tuesday, September 30, the two British Tornados first carried out their strikes after the approval of military action by the House of Commons against Iraq. There were 22 attacks against ISIS militants in total – 11 in Iraq and 11 in Syria.
Although the Ministry of Defense has considered both strikes as successful, no figures have been revealed by the government as to number of ISIS supporters who have died in the attack. According to the Ministry of Defense, the strike on September 30 dropped a pave way IV guided bomb and a Brimstone missile to hit a heavy weapon position which was being manned by IS supporters and an armed pickup truck.
According to a spokesperson from the UK Ministry of Defense, “Following yesterday’s strikes on the ISIS terrorist organization, Royal Air Force aircrafts have seen further action overnight. Two Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri, conducted an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Iraqi government forces west of Baghdad.”
The UK Tornados have been flying in Iraq on reconnaissance missions since mid August. However, their first air strikes paves way for Britain’s entry in the conflict against the IS militants, thereby joining the US, Arab and the European nations who have been targeting ISIS near Syria.
Previously, the US attacks on ISIS militants have been done without explicit permission from the President Bashar al – Assad, which has caused certain problems between the coalition force and the Syrian air defenses during Libyan operations in 2011.
It is to be noted that the House of Commons did not approve the UK operations in Syria previously, although the government has indicated that this position might be reviewed. According to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, “When we do release our weapons we have to be absolutely sure that they are against Isil targets, that they are not going to kill innocent Sunni Muslim civilians in areas that are occupied by Isil. Otherwise we are having the opposite of the effect we are intending to have”. He further said that the UK forces will not pressured to carry out air strikes in Iraq against the IS militants.