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Tornado jets used Storm Shadow missiles against bunkers in western Iraq, while a Reaper supported Iraqi forces around Bazwaya.

On Monday, Tornado aircraft joined coalition aircraft from a number of other countries in a major coordinated attack on a former Iraqi military depot near Haditha in western Iraq.

Intelligence had established that Islamic State had set up workshops manufacturing weapons in a number of the bunkers at the site. The Tornados used Storm Shadow missiles, chosen because of their enhanced penetrative capabilities, to target several of these bunkers.

Initial reports indicate that this large-scale coalition attack was a success. Operations around Mosul were not neglected however, with a Reaper supporting Iraqi troops as they cleared the village of Bazwaya, just to the east of the city.

A Hellfire missile destroyed an armed truck, and the Reaper was also able to assist coalition air attacks against a mortar team and another Islamic State position.

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.

In October 2014, the Ministry of Defence announced the deployment of an undisclosed number of MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat aerial vehicles to assist with surveillance. However, Michael Fallon stated that the Reapers could also conduct airstrikes alongside the Tornado GR4s, if needed.

The first airstrike conducted by a Reaper occurred in November 2014.

By September 2015 – a full year after the operation first began – Tornado and Reaper aircraft had flown over 1,300 missions against Islamic State.

According to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, the UK had conducted a “huge number of missions” over Iraq by December 2014, second only to the United States and five times as many as France.

By February 2015, the UK had contributed 6% of all coalition airstrikes in Iraq – a contribution second only to the United States – which the Defence Select Committee described as “modest”.

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