UK 'Has Moved Beyond Humanitarian Mission' in Iraq - DefMin

Politics » DEFENSE | August 18, 2014, Monday // 14:25| Views: 1227 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: UK 'Has Moved Beyond Humanitarian Mission' in Iraq - DefMin A handout image made available by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows British Secretary of Defence Michael Fallon meeting British Forces Personnel at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, 16 August 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

British Defense Minister Michael Fallon confirmed that his country was increasing its military involvement in conflict-torn Iraq.

Speaking at the British Air Force base Akrotiri in Cyprus, he acknowledged units were flying deeper into the country.

Their mission could last "months", the Guardian quoted him as saying.

His comments come just a day after UK Prime Minister David Cameron called the Islamic State "a threat" to his country and declared it should be stropped whatever the cost. In an article for the Sunday Telegraph he also warned that a "terrorist state" of the Islamic State could reach "the shores of the Mediterranean... bordering a NATO member".

RAF Tornado jets and a Rivet Joint spy plane were first scrambled to deliver humanitarian aid on Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis were besieged by fighters of the extremist group called Islamic State.

In Fallon's words, the aircraft were now monitoring jihadists' positions across the country.

They provide footage and other intelligence on displaced families, but also on the movement of jihadis on the ground, with the information being given out to US and Iraqi authorities.

IS has managed to retain control of large swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria and has declared a "Caliphate" there, forcing thousands of people to flee.

Fallon's statement followed a fresh US bombing campaign targeting IS which helped Kurdish fighters, the Peshmerga, to reclaim the Mosul dam.

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Tags: Michael Fallon, David Cameron, Cyprus, Iraq, IS, caliphate, jets, tornado, Syria, US, Yazidis, Mount Sinjar, NATO
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