British forces have concentrated air operations in the vicinity of Fallujah, assisting Iraqi forces in their battle for the city.
Tornado aircraft continue to provide close air support to Iraqi ground forces fighting to liberate Fallujah. One Tornado flight conducted successful attacks using Paveway IV guided bombs against four buildings from which Islamic State were directing machine-gun fire at the Iraqi forces.
A second Tornado mission used a Paveway IV to destroy a building west of the city, within which a terrorist armed vehicle was reported by nearby Iraqi troops to be concealed.
According to a Ministry of Defence announcement, the last few days operations have included:
- Thursday 9 June – Tornados provided close air support to Iraqi forces in and around Fallujah.
- Friday 10 June – Tornados provided further support over Fallujah, whilst a Reaper and Typhoons prosecuted multiple Daesh targets in northern Iraq.
- Saturday 11 June – A Reaper attacked mortar and rocket teams near Qayyarah in northern Iraq.
- Sunday 12 June – Typhoons and a Reaper attacked further targets near Qayyarah and Mosul, Tornados provided close air support over Fallujah and destroyed a truck-bomb factory in northern Iraq.
Currently ongoing is the ‘Third Battle of Fallujah’,or Operation Breaking Terrorism. The aim is to capture the city, located about 40 miles west of Baghdad. The operation began on the 22nd of May 2016, three months after the Iraqi forces had started the siege of Fallujah.
On Friday the 10th of June, Iraq’s counter-terrorism service reportedly moved within two miles of the city centre, and consolidated positions in the south of the city.
The Iraqi army said at the weekend it had secured the first safe exit route for civilians to leave the city,and a Norwegian aid group said thousands of people had already used it to flee in the first day it was open.