A Royal Air Force Reaper Remotely Piloted Air System has struck an Islamic State command post in a cave in northern Iraq.
As part of the UK’s contribution to the fight against ISlamic State, the MoD say that the Royal Air Force continues to fly daily missions against the terrorist movement in Syria and Iraq.
According to a news release, intelligence analysis confirmed that a Daesh leadership group had established a cave network 85 miles west of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. A Reaper kept a close watch on the location during the early hours of Thursday the 20th August.
“When terrorists were identified at the cave entrance, the Reaper’s crew conducted an attack with a single Hellfire missile, having first swept the area for any signs of civilians who might be placed at risk. The missile struck the target accurately, and the blast was observed to emerge from another part of the cave network, indicating that weapon’s effect had reached deep inside the caves.”
Background on Operation Shader
The Ministry of Defence say that 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”.
This section is intended to provide a bit of background on British efforts in the region and if you’ve read it before, please remember others may not have.
In September last year, the Ministry of Defence had announced that over 1,000 personnel were engaged in theatre and that the Royal Air Force had conducted around 1,000 airstrikes, flying over 2,800 sorties, killing over 3,000 Islamic State fighters.
Last year, it was reported that the Royal Air Force was operating at its most intense for 25 years in a single theatre of operation which far outstripped the UK involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan – RAF jets have dropped 11 times more bombs (1,276 strikes) on Syria and Iraq in the preceding 12 months than they had in the busiest year of action in Afghanistan a decade previously.