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13 Jan, 2016 17:32

British airstrikes hit ISIS security base in Mosul – MoD

British airstrikes hit ISIS security base in Mosul – MoD

Royal Air Force (RAF) jets joined a coalition airstrike on Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday evening, reportedly targeting the group’s security headquarters.

The attack was part of a series of major strikes over the past few days in which the US-led coalition also targeted an IS cash distribution site, according to a Pentagon official.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement said the attack was planned “very carefully” to minimize risks to civilians in Mosul, but did not clarify whether there had been any civilian casualties as a result of the RAF raid.

The US military believes between five and seven civilians were killed in an earlier coalition attack carried out on Sunday morning, CNN reports.

Mosul is considered to be of strategic importance in the war against IS. The MoD said it is the largest Iraqi town held by the militants and houses much of the group’s command functions.

The announcement comes a day after Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to admit to MPs that thousands of “moderate rebels” allegedly fighting the war against IS include “relatively hardline Islamist groups.

Cameron relied heavily on the existence of 70,000 so-called moderate group troops when he convinced Parliament to vote in favor of extending airstrikes against IS from Iraq into Syria last month.

In a statement published on Wednesday, the MoD said intelligence reports had identified a walled compound in the northern part of Mosul as the headquarters of IS’ security apparatus, “associated with many of the terrorists’ worst atrocities inside Syria and Iraq.”

An unspecified number of Typhoon FGR4s, which took off from RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus, carried out the attack using Paveway IV missiles with support from a Voyager air refueling tanker.

Mosul remains the largest Iraqi town held by the terrorists, and they have concentrated much of their command and control functions within the city,” the MoD statement said.

Patient intelligence assessment allowed a walled compound in the northern part of Mosul to be identified as a major headquarters of the Daesh [IS] security organization, which is responsible for terrorizing the civilian population – and indeed demoralized elements of their own membership – into compliance, and is thus associated with many of the terrorists’ worst atrocities inside Syria and Iraq.

Very careful planning allowed three key targets within the compound to be identified, and an attack carefully planned to minimize any risks to civilians in Mosul.

The MoD added it had carried out several airstrikes against IS in Syria on Monday and Tuesday, in which it claims to have destroyed a “terrorist check point” and two strongholds in the area of Al Hasakah in north-east Syria.