Op Shader is continuing to support Iraqi forces in their effort to liberate western Mosul, with the RAF confirming recent intensive air support over the city.
On Easter Sunday, two Tornado flights conducted a successful attack with a Brimstone missile, targeting an Islamic State position on top of a building and an engineering vehicle used by Daesh to construct defensive positions.
The following day, Monday 17 April, Tornados flying over western Iraq spotted a heavy machine-gun, concealed within a grove of trees.
A Paveway IV was used to destroy the weapon.
Despite gains, progress is slow as Iraqi forces battle to gain ground street-by-street and thousands of civilians remain trapped.
An official RAF update reports:
"While the operating environment in the city is very challenging, particularly given the closely-packed buildings, very narrow streets, and the density of the urban population, our aircrew have continued to deliver precision strikes in close support of Iraqi troops on the ground."
In a briefing via a video link from Baghdad, Commander of Coalition ground forces in Iraq, US Major General Joseph Martin, is defiant that west Mosul will be liberated but did confirm a recent chemical attack:
"Daesh has used chemicals in the vicinity of Mosul. The chemicals have had no impact on the Iraqi security forces and they have had no impact on our forces. We’re not certain at this time what the agent is, we have sent samples for testing but we are still waiting for the outcomes."
Gen. Martin also said that:
"The number of civilians murdered by ISIS on a weekly basis is in the hundreds. With evidence showing that it’s increasing. This is further proof that as their military position worsens, so too, does their inhumanity."