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الاثنين، 27 يوليو، 2015

Britain Extends Air Strikes On Islamic State


Britain will extend air strikes by RAF Tornados against the Islamic State by an extra year, the UK defence secretary has said.
Michael Fallon has announced that 12 (Bomber) Squadron will continue in service until March 2017.
He said the British jets had helped Iraqi forces on the ground to push militants out of key towns.
"RAF Tornados have carried out hundreds of strikes, helping Iraqi forces push back ISIL from the Kurdish region and out of key towns such as Tikrit and Bayji," he said.
"We want to ensure we maintain this crucial operational tempo and so we will extend the lifetime of Number 12 Squadron for a further year to March 2017.
"This will allow us to sustain our effort, helping the Iraqis lead the fight on the ground."
Speaking during a visit to Baghdad, Mr Fallon said the extension would ensure the RAF retained "the essential precision firepower, intelligence and surveillance" capabilities needed for operations against IS.
The decision was welcomed by the head of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford.
"It is clear that the requirement for fast jet precision strike and intelligence gathering shows no sign of diminishing," he said.
The GR4s, operating out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, are equipped with precision-guided Paveway bombs and Brimstone missiles.
They can also be fitted with Raptor reconnaissance pods for carrying out surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.
Together with the RAF's unmanned Reaper drones, also operating in the region, they have flown more than 1,100 combat missions over Iraq.
They have carried out more than 250 air strikes.
During his visit to Baghdad, Mr Fallon held talks with Prime Minister Haider al Abadi and other senior Iraqi government figures.

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