UK jets hit more militant targets

Published: Wednesday 1st October 2014 by The News Editor

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British jets have hit more Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq amid growing calls for the action to be extended into the group’s strongholds in Syria.

The Ministry of Defence said two RAF Tornados fired Brimstone missiles against an armed pick-up truck and transport vehicle west of Baghdad.

It is the second time UK forces have directly engaged IS since Parliament authorised involvement in the international military campaign last week.

At a fringe event at the Tory conference last night, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith insisted the Cabinet, including Liberal Democrat members, unanimously believed IS would have to be dealt with in Syria.

Labour’s reluctance was behind the Government’s decision only to seek approval for air strikes on forces in Iraq, he added.

“The reality, I have to be honest with you, is that it is a Labour issue, it is an issue for the Labour Party.

“We need to carry the House of Commons on these things and so the answer here is that Labour decided that frankly this was not a step they wanted to take, so it conditions what we are doing.

“To be honest with you, there was absolute unity around the Cabinet table, including the Liberal Democrats as well, all basically saying the same thing – that the complete package is ultimately having to deal with Isil, not Isil in one place.”

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon last night confirmed that two Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus were tasked to assist Kurdish troops who were under attack by IS.

They successfully destroyed a heavy weapons post and pick-up lorry with a mounted machine gun.

Meanwhile, the wife of British hostage Alan Henning issued a renewed plea for Islamic State to release her husband.

Mr Henning, a 47-year-old former taxi driver from Salford, was kidnapped last December in Syria and was featured in an IS video last month depicting the murder of fellow-captive David Haines.

His wife, Barbara Henning, said: “I ask Islamic State: please release him, we need him back home.”

She added: “Some say ‘wrong time, wrong place’. Alan was volunteering with his Muslim friends to help the people of Syria. He was in the right place doing the right thing.”

The extremists have released a third propaganda video appearing to feature the British photo-journalist John Cantlie.

The clip, which lasts for five and a half minutes, shows Mr Cantlie sitting at a desk dressed in the now-familiar orange outfit worn by other IS hostages.

The video is introduced with the title Lend Me Your Ears and Messages From The British Detainee John Cantlie before the Briton appears on screen.

Mr Cantlie, who looks calm and appears to be reciting a prepared script, describes himself as a ”long-term prisoner” and goes on to criticise US president Barack Obama’s strategy of attempting to defeat IS fighters using air strikes.

The MoD said: “Following yesterday’s strikes on the Isil terrorist organisation, Royal Air Force aircraft have seen further action overnight.

“Two Tornado GR4s from RAF Akrotiri, conducted an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Iraqi government forces west of Baghdad.

“They were tasked to examine a location suspected of being used as an Isil command and control position. At the scene they were able to identify Isil activity and two vehicles, one of which was an armed pick up truck.

“Four Brimstone missiles were used to conduct a precision attack on the vehicles. Initial analysis indicates that the strikes were successful.”

Published: Wednesday 1st October 2014 by The News Editor

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