Armed reconnaissance patrols continue to be flown daily by RAF aircraft over Syria and Iraq, and on Friday the 17th August an Islamic State target was identified in northern Iraq.
According to the Ministry of Defence, terrorists had occupied a large building in the desert, a number of miles to the west-north-west of Bayji.
Once a coalition surveillance aircraft had checked the surrounding area for any signs of civilian presence, a pair of Tornados conducted an attack with Paveway bombs which demolished the building and also destroyed a vehicle used by the terrorists. A further terrorist was observed on foot close by after the attack, and was struck by a Brimstone missile.
By September 2017, 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 3,000 Islamic State fighters.
It was reported last year too 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.
As of March 2017, the MoD says the operation has cost the UK taxpayers £265 million so far and that 129 Paveway IV bombs, 37 Hellfire missiles, 20 Brimstone missiles, 30 unspecified/other armaments were used in the operation against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria until that date. The numbers above are undoubtedly higher a year on.