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RAF drone strike in Syria saves 2 prisoners from public execution by ISIS

RAF drone strike in Syria saves 2 prisoners from public execution by ISIS
A Royal Air Force (RAF) drone strike prevented the public killing of two shackled prisoners by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria last week, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The RAF was monitoring events on the ground at Abu Kamal in eastern Syria on Tuesday May 9, and spotted a large crowd of civilians gathering in one of the town’s main streets, the MoD says. When it realized an execution was about to occur, it struck an IS sentry with a hellfire missile fired from a Reaper drone.

“When a van then unloaded two shackled prisoners in front of the crowd, it became clear that Daesh [IS] were organizing a public execution,” an MoD spokesperson told the Guardian.

“Given the large number of civilians present, the Reaper’s crew could not target directly the Daesh fighters about to carry out the murders. However, two armed extremists were stationed as sentries on the roof of a building overlooking the scene.

“A Hellfire missile was fired immediately, and scored a direct hit which not only killed one of the sentries, but also brought the execution to an immediate halt, as the Daesh fighters fled the scene, and the crowds of civilians dispersed.”

READ MORE: Evidence withheld from inquiry into RAF drone strike that killed British jihadist – MPs

The incident last Tuesday was one of a series of bombing raids in Syria and Iraq by UK jets, according to the Daily Mail.

In Iraq, local forces have reportedly dislodged IS from all but 12sq km of Mosul, and leaflets have been dropped by plane into the city telling civilians the battle has nearly been won.

Seven months into the US-backed campaign, militants now only control a few districts in the western half of Mosul, including the Old City, where IS is expected to make its last stand.

“The enemy is on the brink of total defeat in Mosul,” US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian told a news conference in Baghdad.