LIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) — British Royal Air Force warplanes flying out of a UK air base on Cyprus have destroyed four Islamic State group targets in Iraq over the last two days, the base commander said Wednesday.
RAF Akrotiri station commander, Group Captain Chaz Kennett said that two Tornado GR4 aircraft used bombs and precision missiles to destroy a "heavy weapon position" and an armed pick-up truck. They were supporting Kurdish troops under attack Tuesday from the extremist group in northwest Iraq.
In the second strike early Wednesday, a pair of Tornado planes fired four missiles to destroy two Islamic State group vehicles, including an armed pick-up truck. They were assisting Iraqi government troops west of the capital Baghdad.
British warplanes have been conducting combat missions over Iraq since Saturday, hours after Britain joined the U.S.-led coalition of nations that are launching airstrikes against the extremists.
"The threat from ISIL affects us all and defeating this threat requires an intelligent, patient approach from the coalition of countries who stand together against ISIL," said Kennett, using an alternative abbreviation of the Islamic State group.
Six of the long-serving Tornado warplanes are currently stationed at RAF Akrotiri. Among the weapons systems they carry are Paveway bombs and Brimstone ground attack missiles.
Meanwhile, Cyprus has permitted France to use one of its own air bases in support of missions in the region.
Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told the Associated Press that the air base near the southwestern coastal town of Paphos can be used for "humanitarian and transport missions," but not as a staging post for air strikes.