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Update: air strikes against Daesh

19 May 2016

British forces have continued to conduct air operations in the fight against Daesh

Latest update

- Monday 9 May – Tornados and Typhoons struck Daesh targets in western and northern Iraq, including a command post, a tunnel network and mortar and rocket positions.
- Wednesday 11 May – Tornados provided close air support to Iraqi troops engaged in close combat in western Iraq, destroying a terrorist strongpoint.
- Thursday 12 May – Typhoons attacked Daesh positions south-west of Kirkuk, ahead of Kurdish offensive operations.
- Friday 13 May – Reapers engaged mortar teams and a supply truck in northern Iraq; Tornados destroyed Daesh positions in western Iraq.
- Sunday 15 May – Typhoons destroyed a bunker and an engineering vehicle in western Iraq.
- Monday 16 May – Tornados destroyed a bunker containing ammunition in western Iraq.
- Tuesday 17 May – Typhoons and Tornados destroyed weapon caches and heavy machine-gun positions in northern and western Iraq.
- Wednesday 18 May – Typhoons and Tornados struck multiple Daesh positions, including command and control posts, ammunition and storage buildings near Tal Afar in north-western Iraq.


While conducting reconnaissance missions against a wide range of suspected terrorist locations in both Syria and Iraq, Royal Air Force air strikes have recently been concentrated around two areas of current operational focus for the Iraqi security forces, the Euphrates valley in western Iraq and around Mosul.

RAF Typhoon FGR4s, armed with Paveway IV guided bombs, conducted successful attacks on Monday 9 May against a group of Daesh extremists hiding in a tunnel network dug into a riverbank north-west of Kirkuk and against two rocket launcher positions north of Mosul.

Other Typhoons, and Tornado GR4s provided close air support to the Iraqi troops operating in the Euphrates valley. The Typhoons struck a mortar position north of the Al Asad airbase, while the Tornados destroyed a terrorist command post situated nearby in a riverside building in the midst of a palm grove.

RAF Sentry airborne command and control platforms have also been playing their part in the overall direction of the air campaign against Daesh. A typical Sentry mission on 10 May saw it controlling some 40 coalition aircraft operating over Syria and Iraq, including several RAF reconnaissance missions.

On Wednesday 11 May, Tornados again assisted Iraqi ground forces in the Euphrates valley, when they came up against a heavily defended Daesh building, which was demolished with a Paveway.

The following day, a Typhoon flight used three Paveways to hit Daesh positions ahead of a Kurdish offensive to the south-west of Kirkuk.

Two RAF Reapers followed up by providing close air support to the peshmerga as they advanced on Friday 13 May, conducting a total of four attacks with three Hellfires and a GBU-12 guided bomb. They destroyed mortar teams and a Daesh supply truck, as well as providing surveillance support to a coalition air strike which destroyed a terrorist strongpoint. Tornados were meanwhile again assisting Iraqi ground forces in the Euphrates valley, and destroyed two Daesh-held buildings on the northern bank of the river.

On Sunday 15 May, a pair of Typhoons conducted successful simultaneous attacks north-west of Fallujah, which destroyed a bunker and an engineering vehicle.

RAF support to Iraqi ground forces along the Euphrates continued on Monday 16 May, when Tornados used a Paveway bomb to destroy a small Daesh bunker containing ammunition supplies.

Tornados operated north of Mosul on Tuesday 17 May and conducted a successful attack with Paveways on a group of three buildings near Bashiqah, which housed weapon stockpiles. The same day, a Typhoon flight used a pair of Paveways to destroy two machine-gun positions which Daesh were attempting to establish on the northern bank of the Euphrates near Hit following their recent defeat by the Iraqis in the town.

On Wednesday 18 May, flights of Typhoons and Tornados both participated in a series of attacks on Daesh installations north of Tal Afar. The Typhoons employed eight Paveways to attack a cluster of buildings used by the terrorists for command and control, accommodation, and vehicle and weapon storage. The Tornados delivered four Paveways to destroy a further command post and three ammunition stockpiles.

Previous air strikes

2 May: Typhoons provided further support to the Iraqi forces near Fallujah, striking a machine-gun team in a bunker and a 23mm anti-aircraft gun. In northern Iraq, Tornados used two Paveways to destroy a Daesh-held building and a nearby weapons store north of Mosul, then flew south to the Qayyarah region where Iraqi forces were engaged in a firefight with a group of terrorists manning a fortified position. Despite the close proximity of the friendly forces, very precise strikes with two Paveways and two Brimstones helped destroy the Daesh group.

3 May: An RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducting reconnaissance over the village of Batnay, north of Mosul. A truck-bomb was identified inside a compound and struck using a Hellfire missile, resulting in a very large explosion. The Reaper then provided targeting support to a successful strike by coalition fast jets against a group of Daesh fighters and their vehicle. Two Tornados were also tasked to operate over Batnay, and they successfully destroyed a further Daesh vehicle with a direct hit from a Brimstone. In western Iraq, Typhoons provided further close air support to Iraqi forces near Fallujah, striking a mortar team and their vehicle hidden under trees south of the city.

4 May: A Reaper identified a truck-bomb, concealed underneath a tarpaulin, next to a road in western Iraq. The crew checked that there were no civilians or friendly forces at immediate risk and used a Hellfire missile to score a direct hit on the vehicle, detonating the explosives safely. South of Fallujah, a pair of Typhoon FGR4s used a Paveway IV guided bomb to destroy a building where a group of extremists, armed with a heavy calibre automatic weapon. In the same area, a Tornado GR4 flight dropped four Paveways on a weapons stockpile, two Daesh-held buildings, and a tunnel entrance. RAF aircraft also supported Kurdish forces in the north of the country, where another Tornado flight bombed a group of Daesh fighters and a mortar team, the latter positioned in a small copse of trees.

5 May: Tornado missions in support of Iraqi and Kurdish operations demolished a terrorist position north-east of Mosul on around Mosul and Fallujah, while Typhoons bombed a tunnel and a mortar south-west of Fallujah.

6 May: Daesh terrorists were spotted unloading rockets and mortar projectiles from a number of small boats and a barge on the Euphrates in Anbar province. A Tornado reconnaissance patrol, armed with Brimstone missiles, was first on the scene and prevented the initial load of weapons from being driven away, hitting the terrorists' truck with a Brimstone while they were still loading it. A Paveway-armed flight of Typhoons then arrived and used its bombs to destroy the weapons on the shore, and sink the barge. The same Typhoon flight also attacked a mortar position south-west of Fallujah. A second Tornado flight destroyed two heavy machine-gun positions on the north bank of the Euphrates, downstream from the recently liberated town of Hit. In northern Iraq, Typhoons struck another mortar, north-west of Mosul.

8 May: Typhoons were active south of Fallujah, where a rocket launcher was identified in the open with three known caches of ammunition stored nearby. All four targets were struck with Paveway IV guided bombs and successfully destroyed.

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