UK: Warplanes are set to strike in Iraq, but are gathering intel for now

UK jets gather intel, don't fire for now
UK jets gather intel, don't fire for now

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UK jets gather intel, don't fire for now 02:37

Story highlights

  • British jets conduct recon flights over Iraq, the UK Ministry of Defence says
  • Ministry: The jets are ready to strike when necessary
  • The mission comes a day after Parliament approved military action in Iraq
  • RAF Tornadoes were deployed from an airbase in Cyprus to fly over Iraq
British jets sent to join the fight against ISIS have conducted reconnaissance missions but have not yet targeted any militant positions, the country's Ministry of Defence said Saturday.
The intelligence gathered by the aircraft will help determine targets for future missions, according to the ministry. They're ready to strike when necessary, the ministry said.
The Royal Air Force Tornadoes were sent from the Akrotiri air base in Cyprus to Iraq, according to the defense ministry. Photographs released by the ministry appeared to show two aircraft.
A tanker aircraft supported the British fighters, the Ministry of Defence said, adding that U.K. transport aircraft continued to deliver supplies to Kurdish forces fighting ISIS.
Parliament authorized airstrikes by British forces on Friday against ISIS in Iraq, but not Syria.
'Not the stuff of fantasy'
The 524-43 vote to join the air campaign came after Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament that the country had a "duty to take part" in international efforts to combat the extremist group.
The terror group is an organization of "staggering" brutality, he said, which has already killed one British hostage and threatens the lives of two more.
UK Parliament debates action on ISIS
UK Parliament debates action on ISIS

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Britain not getting into 'another Iraq War'
Britain not getting into 'another Iraq War'

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Britain not getting into 'another Iraq War' 03:23
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"This is not a threat on the far side of the world; left unchecked, we will face a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member, with a declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people," he said.
"This is not the stuff of fantasy; it is happening in front of us; and we need to face up to it."
The government insists such action is legal because Iraq's government has requested international help to tackle the Sunni extremist group, which has overrun vast swathes of Iraq and Syria and massacred religious minorities and Shia Muslims.
Wariness over new Iraq action
The parliamentary authorization, which was backed by the three main Westminster parties, rules out the use of UK troops in any possible ground combat operations in Iraq.
Many lawmakers who spoke in the debate before the vote voiced wariness over new military action in Iraq given the way the 2003 war turned out.
UK forces already have been taking part in surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Iraq, as well as aiding Kurdish forces with equipment.
The United States and a handful of Arab nations began bombing raids in Syria this week against ISIS targets.
U.S. aircraft had already been carrying out airstrikes against ISIS -- the group also known as ISIL, which calls itself the Islamic State -- in Iraq since last month.
French fighter jets have also carried out bombing raids in Iraq, while Belgium and Denmark have also said they will provide planes.