UK MoD for May 31, 2020 – June 24, 2020
Sunday 31 May – a Reaper conducted two attacks on a group of Daesh terrorists in northern Iraq.
Wednesday 3 June – Typhoons struck a Daesh-occupied cave in northern Iraq.
Monday 22 June – Typhoons attacked four caves used by Daesh in northern Iraq.
Wednesday 24 June – Typhoons struck a further group of caves used as a base by Daesh in northern Iraq.
As part of the UK Armed Forces’ contribution to the global coalition against Daesh, our aircraft have continued to fly armed reconnaissance patrols in support of the Iraqi security forces, striking terrorist targets as necessary.
A Royal Air Force remotely piloted Reaper investigated on Sunday 31 May a location in northern Iraq, some seventeen miles west of Tuz Khurmatu, where a Daesh group had been identified as having established themselves at a bunker situated in the mountains. The Reaper’s crew conducted a thorough check of the area, finding no signs of any civilians nearby, but confirming the presence of several terrorists close to the bunker itself, who were attempting to conceal themselves in heavy foliage. The Reaper therefore conducted two attacks in succession, destroying the bunker with a GBU-12 guided bomb, then hitting those terrorists who were outside the bunker with a Hellfire missile.
On Wednesday 3 June, a pair of Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, joined other coalition aircraft in an operation against Daesh positions which had been identified on a mountainous ridge some thirty-five miles north-west of Kirkuk. Having confirmed that there were no signs of civilians in the area, the Typhoons provided surveillance support to a strike by coalition jets, and were then allocated a cave, occupied by Daesh, as their own target. This position was struck with a single Paveway IV guided bomb, and Iraqi ground forces subsequently confirmed the attack to have been a success.
A further group of caves, situated thirty miles north-west of Tikrit, were confirmed as being used by Daesh both as accommodation and storage for improvised explosive devices. Two Typhoons were accordingly tasked to attack the terrorist position on Monday 22 June. Having checked the area for any civilians who might be at risk, four Paveway IVs were successfully used to strike four carefully selected targets within the cave network.
Intensive coalition surveillance efforts were able to confirm that another group of Daesh terrorists had established themselves in a cave network in the Makhmur mountains of northern Iraq. RAF Typhoons were therefore tasked with the destruction of this terrorist base on Wednesday 24 June. After the usual precautionary check of the area for civilians, our aircraft attacked with four Paveway IVs, all of which struck their targets successfully.
The Royal Air Force has conducted four sets of air strikes against Daesh this month, as the UK Armed Forces continue to support the Iraq Government’s fight against the terror group.
The strikes, which were conducted over northern Iraq, were all successful in hitting their targets and come after two similar operations in April, which were the UK’s first such activity in seven months.
Since liberating the last territory held by Daesh, in March 2019, the RAF has flown daily armed reconnaissance patrols to prevent the violent extremists from re-establishing footholds in Iraq or Syria, and remain ready to strike whenever required.
Precision strikes result from the patient and methodical production of actionable intelligence, and are only conducted after thorough surveillance of the target and surrounding area for any signs of civilians, ensuring they are not placed at risk.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “These strikes are another example of how the UK Armed Forces protect our nation and allies, every single day, from all those who seek to do us harm.”
On 8 May, an RAF Reaper kept close watch on a bunker containing a group of Daesh fighters, west of Tuz Khurmatu, in northern Iraq. When the Reaper’s crew had identified the ideal moment to strike, the bunker was destroyed using a GBU-12 guided bomb.
On 10 May, a pair of Typhoon FGR4s, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, flew an armed reconnaissance patrol over northern Iraq. Coalition surveillance aircraft had located a cave system occupied by Daesh terrorists southeast of Hatra, on the banks of the Tharthar River. Three targets at the entrances to the caves were identified and each was successfully struck by a Paveway IV guided bomb.
On 13 May, Reapers again saw action west of Tuz Khurmatu, when two of the RAF’s aircraft used GBU-12s to destroy a further pair of Daesh-occupied bunkers.
On 23 May, a group of Daesh fighters were located hiding in woods, along with stored equipment. A patrolling Reaper dropped one GBU-12, which hit its targets and caused secondary explosions, indicating the likely presence of a significant stockpile of munitions.
For more information see Daesh: UK government response page on GOV.UK