UK's Royal Air Force reveals role in destroying ISIS cave network in Iraq

Ten-day mission involving missiles and bombs helped clear insurgents from mountain region

Britain's Royal Air Force helped clear out ISIS extremists from a mountainousregion in northern Iraq last month. Getty Images 
Britain's Royal Air Force helped clear out ISIS extremists from a mountainousregion in northern Iraq last month. Getty Images 

Britain’s Royal Air Force helped clear an ISIS stronghold in Iraq after a 10-day mission involving missiles and bombs.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence said the air force worked with coalition forces and Iraqi ground troops to push ISIS forces from the Makhmur mountain region, south-west of Erbil in northern Iraq.

Coalition forces gained the upper hand when the insurgents were confirmed to be based in a cave network on March 22.

“Three Typhoon FGR4s were tasked to conduct an attack using Storm Shadow missiles, the remote area having first been checked to ensure that no civilians would be placed at risk,” the MoD said in a statement.

The mission was deemed a success following a subsequent surveillance operation.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said forces would “continue to root out Daesh terrorists from where they hide”.

“The UK is committed to defeating Daesh,” he added.

“This operation will prevent the terrorist group and its toxic ideology from regaining a foothold in Iraq and reduce its capability to co-ordinate attacks around the world.”

An MoD spokesman said there were still some 10,000 ISIS members estimated to be at large in Iraq and Syria, even though the group had been “territorially defeated”.

The RAF also used Paveway IV bombs during the attack, which was the first to use Storm Shadow cruise missiles in Typhoon RGR4 aircraft.

In a separate operation last Sunday, an RAF Reaper armed with Hellfire missiles completed a successful strike on a small ISIS camp in northern Syria, about 80 kilometres west of Al Hasakah.

Updated: April 8, 2021 03:07 PM

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