Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighters operating as part of the counter-Daesh Coalition have conducted a series of air strikes in support of Iraqi ground forces. The strikes followed Iraqi forces identifying a significant number of Daesh terrorists using the cave complex. The series of caves which the terrorists were using were assessed to be a particularly difficult target, and two RAF Typhoons were therefore tasked to conduct an attack in support of the Iraqi forces. The strikes began on the Wednesday 10th March and carried on till Friday 12th March, with a follow on strike on Sunday 14th March. The targets were a caves system south west of the city of Erbil in Northern Iraq. The strikes were carried out following a check of the area which revealed there were no signs of any civilians who might be placed at risk.
The strikes on Wednesday saw the use of Storm Shadow missiles, which were selected as the most appropriate weapons for the task. A preceding check of the area confirmed that there were no signs of civilians in the area who might be placed at risk. Further surveillance efforts confirmed an additional two locations in the same area which were also being used by Daesh. Two Typhoons therefore conducted precision attacks on the extremists at both locations using six Paveway IV guided bombs. The following day, further strikes were carried out when Typhoons struck yet another group of caves used by Daesh, with eight Paveway IV bombs. Following the mission, the Typhoon’s weapons were confirmed to have struck their targets precisely. On Sunday, a further six Paveway IVs were employed against more Daesh-held caves in the same remote, mountainous area.
UK Armed Forces are deployed to the Middle East to support counter Daesh operations as part of the 83-member strong Global Coalition. The Royal Air Force is continuing to conduct air strikes as required to assist the highly capable Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces to prevent Daesh from re-establishing a meaningful presence in Iraq. The RAF’s armed reconnaissance missions support the enduring work of the Iraqi security forces to prevent any resurgence of the Daesh terrorist movement within their country as part of Op Shader, the UK contribution to the US-led international counter-Daesh operation. Op Shader continues despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriate precautions have been introduced to allow the operation can carry on.