The Royal Air Force has been employing Typhoon fighter jets and MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in four separate air strikes against Daesh this month.
The strikes were conducted over northern Iraq with all targets successfully hit, according to RAF. Since liberating the last territory held by Daesh, in March 2019, the RAF has continued to fly daily armed reconnaissance patrols to prevent Daesh from re-establishing control of territory in Iraq or Syria.
The strikes this month began when a RAF Reaper remotely piloted aircraft destroyed a bunker containing Daesh fighters, west of Tuz Khurmatu, in northern Iraq on the 8 May.
Two days later a pair of Typhoons, supported by a Voyager air refueling tanker, flew an armed reconnaissance patrol over northern Iraq. During this flight and as a result of coalition surveillance aircraft locating a cave system occupied by Daesh terrorists, the Typhoons were able to identify targets at three of the cave entrances, all of which were successfully bombed and destroyed. The caves were southeast of Hatra, on the banks of the Tharthar River.
On May 13, Reapers again saw action west of Tuz Khurmatu, when two of the RAF’s aircraft destroyed two more Daesh-occupied bunkers.
Ten days later after locating a group of Daesh fighters hiding in woods, a Reaper dropped one bomb. The impact was seen to cause secondary explosions, indicating the likely presence of a significant stockpile of munitions.
The current round of strike operations is the result of the gathering of intelligence, and the thorough surveillance of the target and surrounding area for any signs of civilians, to ensure they are not placed at risk.