UK pilots killed 330 Islamic State terrorists in a year
Air strikes by Britain's Royal Air Force have killed about 330 Islamic State (IS) fighters since the UK began its campaign as part of a US-led global coalition against the terrorist group in September 2014.world Updated: Sep 17, 2015 19:26 IST
Air strikes by Britain's Royal Air Force have killed about 330 Islamic State (IS) fighters since the UK began its campaign as part of a US-led global coalition against the terrorist group in September 2014.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon said the figure was "highly approximate", partly because there were no UK troops on the ground to confirm the impact of the Iraq campaign.
"The estimated number of IS fighters killed as a result of UK strikes from September 2014 to 31 August 2015 is around 330. This figure is highly approximate, not least given the absence of UK ground troops in a position to observe the effects of strike activity," Fallon said in a written answer to the UK Parliament.
IS also goes by acronyms such as ISIL and ISIS. "We do not believe there have been any civilian casualties as a result of UK strike activity. Any overall estimates would be a matter for the coalition," he said.
In September 2014, British MPs had approved British participation in air strikes against IS targets in Iraq. Green Party MP Caroline Lucas had specifically asked Fallon what estimate the US-led global coalition to counter IS -– made up of more than 60 countries -– has made of civilian casualties arising from its activities.
However, he was able to give an assessment on the impact of UK action only between September 2014 and August 31 this year. The David Cameron-led government is expected to draw up proposals within the next few weeks to extend British action to missile attacks in Syria against IS.
In August, he had informed the House of Commons that two British IS terrorists -- Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin -- were killed by an RAF drone strike in Raqqa, Syria.
Last month, Britain announced it was extending its air strikes in Iraq by a year to March 2017. Newly-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said British drone attacks were "legally questionable" and called for a "rapid political development" as a way to end the violence in Syria. He is expected to oppose any proposal to expand the air campaign against IS.