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Revealed: MoD admits to fresh airstrikes in Iraq while Johnson was in hospital

Revealed: MoD admits to fresh airstrikes in Iraq while Johnson was in hospital

The UK Ministry of Defence has admitted that the RAF engaged in aerial bombing in Iraq on 10th April, when the Prime Minister was in hospital.

A brief and vague account of the incident was posted on the MoD website yesterday (Saturday 25th April). It went largely unnoticed by journalists until the group Drone Wars UK drew attention to it on social media.

This is the first known act of aerial bombing by UK troops for seven months.

The bombing took place a week after Dominic Raab offered British support for a global ceasefire during the Covid 19 crisis.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) accused the government of hiding from scrutiny by mentioning the bombing as quietly as possible while the media are focused on Covid 19.

The PPU said that the government has urgent questions to answer about whether armed forces leaders consulted ministers about the bombing, and which ministers knew about and approved of it while Johnson was in hospital.

The MoD say that the bombing took place west of Tuz Khurma and involved two Typhoon aircraft and a Reaper aircraft. They claim they were bombing “Daesh terrorists” but the PPU said that the implication that there were no civilian casualties was almost impossible to believe, given the inaccuracy of so many similar claims in the past.

Symon Hill, Campaigns Manager of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) said:

On 3rd April, Dominic Raab was tweeting about his enthusiasm for a global ceasefire during the pandemic. A week later, with Johnson in hospital and Raab in charge, the RAF was dropping bombs in Iraq. More than two weeks after the bombing took place, the government have quietly posted some vague information online at the weekend.

Ministers and military bosses must not be allowed to misuse the Covid 19 crisis to avoid scrutiny. They have urgent questions to answer. Why has this bombing taken place now? Did military leaders consult the government about it? Did Raab know about it when he was claiming to support a global ceasefire? We need details of the incident and realistic information about casualties, including civilians.

In the last two decades, events in Iraq have made very clear that violence cannot solve deep-seated problems, whoever engages in it.”

Analysis by the monitoring group Airwars has concluded that between around 8,000 and 13,000 civilians have been killed by airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014. This includes airstrikes by both US-led coalition forces and Russian forces.