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Sunday 1 January
Similar Reaper operations occurred on New Year’s Day, with our aircraft destroying a group of terrorists with 1 Hellfire, then using a second to knock out an armed truck which it had spotted reversing in and out of cover to fire bursts from a heavy machine gun. A flight of Typhoon FGR4s were also active over northern Mosul, where they used a Paveway IV to attack a mortar position just to the north of the city.
Monday 2 January
The British military training mission in Iraq sadly suffered a fatality when Lance Corporal Scott Hetherington from the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment died in a non-combat incident at a training camp in Taji. Further information can be found here.
A Reaper patrol also on 2 January over Mosul provided surveillance support to coalition air strikes on terrorist fighters, including a recoilless anti-tank gun team, and employed a Hellfire to silence a Daesh rooftop position that was firing on Iraqi troops.
Tuesday 3 January
A further Reaper attack occurred in south east Mosul, striking a pair of terrorists who were in close proximity to Iraqi forces, whilst some 20 miles south of Kirkuk, a Tornado flight destroyed a Daesh truck with a Paveway IV.
Wednesday 4 January
Two flights of Royal Air Force Typhoons carried out attacks on Daesh targets in northern and western Iraq. One pair of Typhoons headed to a site north of Tall Afar, where intelligence had located a group of 3 buildings used by Daesh to manufacture truck bombs. All 3 buildings were demolished using Paveway IV guided bombs. The second flight, also armed with Paveway IVs, successfully targeted a bridge used by the terrorists to cross a tributary of the Euphrates in Anbar province.
Thursday 5 January
The main focus for RAF and other Coalition aircraft has remained the providing close air support to Iraqi operations to liberate Mosul. A Tornado mission used a Paveway IV to destroy a mortar position in central Mosul. Meanwhile, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flew overwatch for Iraqi troops advancing in the south eastern area of the city. Our aircraft conducted 3 very precise attacks with Hellfire missiles against extremists as they fought with the Iraqis, and provided surveillance support to 3 further strikes by other Coalition aircraft.
Friday 6 January
Reaper operations over south east Mosul continued, with 3 more Hellfire attacks which killed Daesh fighters engaged in very close quarter combat with the Iraqi forces. Assistance was also provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces in their offensive towards Raqqa, with a pair of Typhoons bombing a Deash sniper position on the north-eastern shore of Lake Assad.
Saturday 7 January
A Reaper again used the precision of its Hellfire missiles to hit terrorists twice during street fighting in south eastern Mosul.
Sunday 8 January
Further Typhoon operations in support of the SDF west of Raqqa, destroying an artillery piece hidden in woods was hit with a Paveway IV. A Tornado flight also patrolled over northern Iraq, using a pair of Paveway IVs to destroy a truck bomb workshop some 35 miles south west of Kirkuk. A further pair of Paveways were used to attack a stockpile of weapons buried in shipping containers south of Sinjar. A Reaper, as ever maintaining a presence over Mosul, meanwhile observed a group of Daesh attempting to cross the Tigris in a small boat. A direct hit from a Hellfire completely destroyed the craft.
Monday 9 January
A pair of Tornados patrolled north of Mosul, assisting Iraqi forces as they cleared Daesh positions near Nineveh. The Iraqi troops came under fire from a Daesh held building, as well as from a small group of extremists concealed under the canopy of another building. The Tornados were able to conduct a simultaneous attack on both targets, demolishing the first building with a Paveway IV guided bomb, and hitting those under the canopy with a Brimstone missile. A coalition aircraft had meanwhile identified a lorry bomb nearby. Our Tornados destroyed the target with a second Brimstone. RAF aircraft then turned their attention to southern Mosul, where an armoured truck had been spotted. The truck was destroyed with a further Brimstone missile.
Tuesday 10 January
An RAF Reaper supported Iraqi troops as they advanced further into central Mosul. The Reaper’s crew identified a Daesh mortar team trying to conceal their activity in a wooded area, and struck them with a Hellfire missile. A second Hellfire accounted for a group of terrorists close to an Iraqi unit. In the confusion of the street fighting, the Reaper observed Daesh firing on each other, with at least 1 terrorist killed by their own side.
Wednesday 11 January
Reaper operations over Mosul continued. Our aircraft conducted 1 attack in northern Mosul against a group of Daesh caught in the open. It then kept watch on a building where over a dozen Daesh fighters were observed assembling. The surveillance effort enabled a successful strike by a coalition fast jet which demolished the building. The Reaper then moved to patrol over eastern Mosul, where another coalition aircraft had successfully disabled a car bomb. A Hellfire missile from the Reaper destroyed the threat outright.
Thursday 12 January
During the battle for Mosul, small armed remotely piloted aerial vehicles with grenades have been used by Daesh a number of times to harass Iraqi troops, with reports suggesting they have also been used to target civilian refugees. A building in the southern area of central Mosul was identified as being used as a base for these drones and their operators. A pair of Royal Air Force Typhoons targeted the site, demolishing the building with 2 Paveway IV guided bombs. Over south east Mosul, a Reaper meanwhile flew overwatch for Iraqi troops as they cleared further Daesh positions. The Reaper’s crew were able to identify a number of terrorists armed with heavy and light machine guns firing at the Iraqi forces, and conducted 3 successful attacks with Hellfire missiles which eliminated the threat posed.
Friday 13 January
Two Tornados patrolled over northern Iraq, and were directed to a tunnel entrance which had been identified some 15 miles west of Kirkuk. Two Paveway IVs collapsed the entrance and set off secondary explosions from inside the tunnel. Reaper operations over Mosul continued, with our aircraft spotting a group of terrorists as they loaded a heavy rocket into a truck. They and the vehicle were promptly struck by a Hellfire missile. The Reaper then provided surveillance support to 2 Coalition air strikes which destroyed a heavy machine gun position and a bridge.
Saturday 14 January
RAF Reapers have also been conducting armed reconnaissance patrols near Tall Afar, and 1 of our aircraft responded to a report from another Coalition surveillance aircraft which had identified a pair of armed trucks concealed in vehicle sheds some 30 miles to the south west of the town. Both vehicles were destroyed using Hellfire missiles.
Monday 16 January
RAF Typhoons, armed with Paveway IV guided bombs, delivered an attack 10 miles north west of Mosul to breach a large defensive berm held by Daesh against the Kurdish Peshmerga. The Typhoons then flew to Mosul itself, where they first destroyed a terrorist strongpoint that dominated a road junction in central Mosul, then attacked a key route used by Daesh to move supplies and truck bombs. A Reaper remotely piloted aircraft meanwhile provided close support to Iraqi forces engaged in close combat with Daesh. The Reaper used a Hellfire missile to kill a group of terrorists during street fighting.
Tuesday 17 January
Reaper support to the Iraqi units continued, when a car bomb was spotted, hidden under a car port in a newly liberated area of northern Mosul. The Reaper kept watch as the Iraqi security forces moved civilians in the area to safety, then destroyed the car bomb with a direct hit from a Hellfire. Some 20 miles north west of the city, a tunnel network had been identified close to the southern bank of the Tigris, and 2 Typhoons were tasked with its destruction. A Paveway IV struck the entrance, collapsing it.
Wednesday 18 January
Surveillance and strike operations have also been maintained against Daesh in Syria, Tornados conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol near Al Bab, where they used a Paveway IV to destroy an armed truck which Daesh had attempted to conceal in a vehicle shelter.
Thursday 19 January
A Reaper conducted 3 precision attacks using Hellfire missiles against small groups of terrorists spotted firing at Iraqi troops.
Friday 20 January
A Reaper identified a Daesh observation team at work, which enabled an attack by a coalition aircraft. The Reaper also provided surveillance support to 2 other successful coalition air attacks, before using 1 of its own Hellfires to destroy an armed truck which Daesh had attempted to conceal under a vehicle shelter.
Monday 23 January
Tornados, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, attacked a Daesh command post near the town of Mullah Abdullah, west of Kirkuk. A Brimstone missile and a Paveway IV guided bomb were used simultaneously. The Brimstone destroyed a truck parked outside, with the Paveway impacting shortly afterwards to demolish the building and collapse an associated tunnel.
Tuesday 24 January
Coalition aircraft conducted strikes against Daesh targets along the approaches to these districts. The RAF contribution was a combined formation of Tornado and Typhoon aircraft, supported by a Voyager tanker. The jets dealt with a car bomb that had been identified to the south west of the city. A direct hit from a Brimstone destroyed the booby trapped vehicle.
Wednesday 25 January
The SDF reported that they were taking fire from a group of Daesh fighters with an armoured personnel carrier, to the west of Raqqa, on the north eastern shores of Lake Assad. Despite challenging weather conditions and the proximity of the SDF to the targets, 2 Typhoons used a pair of Paveway IV precision guided bombs which removed the threat.
Daesh targets have been less common since their defeat in eastern Mosul. As a result, no RAF attacks were required in the latter part of the week. Our aircraft, however, continued intensive armed reconnaissance patrols to gather intelligence on suspected terrorist positions and movement, and to be ready to strike should the situation require. Sentinel aircraft have also flown a number of surveillance missions, similarly gathering valuable information on Daesh. Hercules transports have also continued their essential role in providing logistical support required to British forces in the Middle East, particularly for the training and liaison teams deployed as part of the Coalition’s efforts to help the Iraqi security forces further improve their capabilities.
Monday 30 January
Tornados engaged 2 groups of terrorists south of Mosul, while a Reaper destroyed 2 vehicles in western Iraq.
A pair of Royal Air Force Tornados assisted Iraqi troops on Monday 30 January, some 10 miles south of Mosul, on the west bank of the Tigris. The Tornados spotted machine gun fire being directed at an Iraqi unit, and on investigating were able to identify a number of Daesh terrorists divided into 3 small groups. The Tornados used a pair of Paveway IV guided bombs to kill the members of 2 of these groups, while an attack by another coalition aircraft accounted for the third. In western Iraq, some 40 miles south west of the Al Asad airfield, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft meanwhile tracked trucks carrying several Daesh fighters. Both vehicles were struck in succession by Hellfires from the Reaper, and a series of secondary explosions from the vehicles’ cargo ensued for several minutes afterwards.