A Reaper unmanned aircraft and four Tornado jets hit a number of targets near Sharqat in Iraq while another Reaper struck a check-point and Typhoons destroyed a bunker.

According to the Ministry of Defence, on Wednesday 21 September a Reaper and two flights of Tornados again provided close air support to Iraqi forces near Sharqat.

A Hellfire from the Reaper killed a number of terrorists and badly damaged their nearby vehicle, while a Brimstone and two Paveway IVs from the Tornados struck another two groups of terrorists and a truck. The Tornados also used a Paveway IV to sink a barge that was being used to ferry a truck-bomb across the Tigris.

A Reaper patrolled over eastern Syria and north-western Iraq, and destroyed a terrorist check-point in the Tall Afar region with a Hellfire. In western Iraq, Typhoons bombed a bunker on the northern bank of the Euphrates.

Recently the Ministry of Defence revealed that British aircraft have carried out more than a thousand air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“Daesh is firmly on the back foot. RAF jets are hitting them hard, driving them back and helping local forces recapture territory.

This vital work is freeing innocent civilians from a brutal regime, while keeping our streets safe at home.”

Over 3,000 armed sorties have now been flown since operations started in 2014.

In addition to armed aircraft, the Royal Air Force have deployed Sentinel battlefield surveillance aircraft, Sentry AEW&C aircraft, Voyager tanker aircraft, Atlas, Globemaster and Hercules transport aircraft in addition to RC-135W Airseeker reconnaissance aircraft and other platforms.

Operation Shader is the operational code name given to the British participation in the ongoing military intervention against the Islamic State.

The operation began in Iraq on the 26th of September 2014, following a formal request for assistance by the Iraqi government.

Prior to this, the Royal Air Force had been engaged in a humanitarian relief effort over Mount Sinjar, which involved multiple aid airdrops by transport aircraft and the airlifting of displaced refugees.

By October 2014, the intervention had extended onto Syria with the Royal Air Force only mandated to conduct surveillance flights over the country.

In December 2015, the House of Commons approved British airstrikes against IS in Syria. The UK is one of several countries directly involved in the ongoing Syrian conflict that started in March 2011, utilising Tornado, Typhoon and Reaper aircraft.

In June 2016, the Ministry of Defence had announced that over 1,000 personnel were engaged in theatre and that the Royal Air Force had conducted around 900 airstrikes, flying over 2,200 sorties, killing almost 1,000 Islamic State fighters.

Now at 1,000 airstrikes and 3,000, this number continues to climb daily.

The United Kingdom is also responsible for almost half of all coalition surveillance flights over Iraq and Syria, with the Tornado jets RAPTOR reconnaissance pod accounting for 60% of the coalition’s entire tactical reconnaissance in Iraq alone.

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