Britain will extend its air campaign in Iraq against Islamic State militants by a year, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced.
The announcement that Tornado fighter jets will be in service until spring 2017 comes as British MPs are due to vote next month on extending the current campaign of air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq to the terror group’s bases in Syria as well. British Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested that force could be used to combat the spread of Islamic State in Libya.
Fallon told BBC radio the Americans and other allies have valued the contribution of the Tornado –thanks to jets’ precision weapons and surveillance they carry out when they are not striking- and explained this is the reason why the U.K. is continuing the Tornado squadron “for another year.” Britain is part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, but only has the parliament’s backing to execute strikes in Iraq not Syria.
Meanwhile, a new report revealed the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq has killed over 450 civilians. Airwars, a project set up by a team of independent journalists, has published details of 52 strikes with reportedly credible reports of at least 459 non-combat deaths, including those of over 100 children.