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British fighter planes attack Islamic State strongholds in Iraq

Two Typhoon fighter planes of Britain's Royal Air Force conducted attacks against Islamic State strongholds in Iraq last week. Photo courtesy of Royal Air Force
Two Typhoon fighter planes of Britain's Royal Air Force conducted attacks against Islamic State strongholds in Iraq last week. Photo courtesy of Royal Air Force

March 15 (UPI) -- Britain's Royal Air Force announced a five-day bombing campaign on Monday against Islamic State forces in Iraq, in support of Iraqi ground troops.

Typhoon fighter planes conducted airstrikes, using Storm Shadow missiles and Paveway IV guided bombs, in northern Iraq last week, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

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The statements itemized attacks on IS forces based in caves on Mar. 10, additional Typhoon attacks in northern Iraq on Mar. 11, and a return to attacks on caves on Mar. 12 and Mar. 14.

"The Iraqi forces recently identified a significant number of Daesh [IS] fighters using cave complexes south-west of Erbil," the ministry statement said.

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"The caves identified were assessed to be particularly difficult targets and two RAF Typhoon FGR4s were therefore tasked to conduct strikes in support of ground forces from the highly-capable Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service," the statement said.

A RAF statement on Monday stressed that no civilians were observed in the mountainous terrain where the attacks occurred, adding that all weapons were confirmed to have struck their intended targets.

The Storm Shadow is a French-British cruise missile, with a range of 350 miles and the capability of flying at turbojet at Mach 0.8.

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The Paveway IV is a laser-guided bomb in which the guidance system is attached to a standard Mk 82 general-purpose bomb modified for increased penetration performance.

The RAF has flown continuous missions against IS strongholds since 2019, most recently on Feb. 19.

The air war in Iraq is part of the Special Operations Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, a military campaign against IS in Syria and Iraq which has involved Britain, the United States, France, Turkey, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

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