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Military

Update: air strikes against Daesh

9 March 2017

The RAF are continuing to take the fight to Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Summary

- Monday 6 March – Typhoons demolished a Daesh headquarters in eastern Syria, while Tornados struck terrorist supply routes within Mosul.
- Tuesday 7 March – Tornados eliminated a sniper team in Mosul, while Typhoons cut a road linking Mosul with Daesh positions to the north-west.
- Wednesday 8 March – Tornados engaged a mortar position north-west of Mosul, and Daesh extremists, including a sniper, within the city.

Detail

Careful intelligence analysis allowed the Coalition to pinpoint the location of a Daesh headquarters at a compound in a remote area of eastern Syria. Two Typhoons were dispatched from RAF Akrotiri on Monday 6 March, targeting the two key buildings within the compound. Both were demolished by Paveway IV guided bombs. Tornados meanwhile supported Iraqi ground operations in western Mosul by using Paveway IVs to strike three key routes within the city, helping to prevent Daesh from sending reinforcements or truck-bombs to areas being successfully liberated by the Iraqi troops.

Similar work was performed by Paveway-armed Typhoons the following day, when they cut a major highway leading out of Mosul towards positions still held by Daesh to the north-west of the city. Inside Mosul, a Tornado flight used a Paveway IV to deal very effectively with a sniper team which was holding up an Iraqi advance.

On Wednesday 8 March, a pair of Tornados initially operated north-west of Mosul, where they struck a mortar position on the south bank of the Tigris using a Paveway IV. They then provided direct support to Iraqi forces inside western Mosul, engaging a sniper who was firing on the Iraqis, and hitting a building defended by a number of terrorists.

UK contribution to the fight against Daesh


Map of UK forces committed to Operation Shader
Map of UK forces committed to Operation Shader

Campaign against Daesh


Map of Daesh losses and gains in Iraq and Syria since September 2014
Map of Daesh losses and gains in Iraq and Syria since September 2014

Previous update

Wednesday 1 March: A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft assisted Iraqi troops in western Mosul, using a Hellfire missile and a GBU-12 guided bomb to eliminate Daesh fighters, including a sniper, engaged at close quarters with the Iraqis. The Reaper also used its surveillance sensors to check that a target area was clear of civilians before a coalition air strike. Two flights of Tornados armed with Paveway IVs also operated over western Mosul that day. The first pair destroyed a strong-point held by terrorists armed with light machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades, while the second pair dealt with a sniper before demolishing two buildings that were part of a factory producing truck-bombs.

Thursday 2 March: Typhoons had to deal with heavy cloud over Mosul, with the challenging weather conditions denying them clear sight of the target when an Iraqi unit came under machine-gun fire from a Daesh strong-point at short range. Despite these conditions, very careful coordination with the Iraqi troops allowed the Typhoons to hit the Daesh position accurately with a Paveway IV, without endangering friendly forces. The Iraqi unit reported that the machine-gun had been silenced and the threat to them eliminated.

Friday 3 March: Tornados experienced similarly difficult cloud conditions, when they struck four Daesh-held buildings in western Mosul. The Iraqi ground forces reported that all four targets had been safely destroyed, with at least one heavy machine-gun also put out of action. Typhoons also engaged a further three targets in the city, striking a road junction to prevent Daesh moving supplies and truck-bombs along the route, and eliminating sniper and light machine-gun teams.

Sunday 5 March: A pair of Typhoons operated around Tall Afar. They used Paveway IVs to target successfully a cave where terrorists had set up base, together with a near-by fortified position. A second pair of Typhoons maintained close air support over western Mosul, where they bombed first a Daesh strong-point and then a checkpoint that had been established in a large building on the outskirts to control a route out of the city. 20 miles north-west of Mosul, another Daesh location had been detected, with terrorists occupying a building on the banks of the Tigris. Tornados struck the building, and then used a further Paveway IV to collapse a tunnel that had been dug close by.



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