British jets attack former Saddam palace in Mosul
British warplanes have targeted one of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein’s palaces in the city of Mosul, the UK Ministry of Defense says.
According to a statement by the ministry on Wednesday, two Tornado warplanes from the Royal Air Force carried out the attack on August 1, as part of a multinational squadron tasked with destroying the Daesh-controlled palace.
The compound, located near the Tigris River, was used by the Takfiri group “as a major headquarters and training center for foreign terrorist recruits,” the statement added.
It was one of the 50 luxury mansions that Saddam built across the Arab country during his 24-year run. The Mosul palace featured man-made waterfalls and was housed American military personnel during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
Apparently, the fortified complex also included more discreet outbuildings that were used by Daesh for internal security and repression.
The Tornado jets were reportedly fitted with the RAF’s largest guided bombs, the 900kg (2000lb) Paveway III bunker busters.
London’s own initial assessments hinted that the seven-nation mission that took place on Monday afternoon was successful. The coalition has yet to release additional details in this regard.
“Daesh has been losing followers and territory for months and emphatic strikes like this show that we and the coalition will not waver,” UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon said as he visited RAF Akrotiri base in Cyprus on Wednesday.
During his visit to the base, which is frequently used by RAF fighters to launch airstrikes on purported Daesh position inside Syria and Iraq, Fallon said that more British troops were going to be deployed in Iraq later this month.
In late July, London decided to send 250 more troops to the Arab country, putting the total number of the British military at more than 500.
The UK’s involvement in the US-led campaign against militants in Iraq and Syria stirred controversy after British Special Forces were spotted fighting alongside anti-government militants in Syria.
According to a report published by the Times in early June, British troops have been frequently crossing into Syria to support the so-called New Syrian Army (NSA), allegedly protecting them from attacks by Daesh.