British Prime Minister David Cameron paid a surprised visit to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus last night as he announced the deployment of two more RAF Tornado bombers, ‘HeraldScotland’ reports.
Last week British MPs voted overwhelmingly to allow a bombing campaign in Iraq.
Cameron said: “Less than a week into combat operations in Iraq, I wanted to come here to thank our troops for the vital work they are doing to defeat these barbaric Isil terrorists who threaten security not just in Iraq, Syria and the region but on the streets of Britain to.
“It is an opportunity to hear directly from them about their operations, the challenges they face and what support they need.
“They have already flown a dozen sorties and carried out strikes on four of those missions, successfully hitting eight targets and helping Iraqi forces hold territory but also push back Isil too.
“We want to make sure we can keep up this tempo in the days ahead so we will deploy a further two Tornados to Akrotiri in the next 24 hours.”
Cameron added: “Remember, ISIL is not just a threat in Iraq and Syria. It is a threat to the streets of Britain and that is why we are here, that is why we are doing this. I wanted to come and thank the people at the sharp end.
He also revealed the Norfolk-based RAF No 2 Squadron comprising 16 Tornados, will no longer be disbanded next March as planned but will remain in operation until 2016 as part of the battle against ISIL.
The squadron was due to be disbanded following Britain winding down its operations in Afghanistan and replaced by a new squadron of advanced Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.
Meanwhile, Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ reports that a comprehensive motion authorising the government to deploy the Turkish army into Iraq and Syria and to allow the deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soil was approved in Parliament on Thursday, providing the required legal measures for Turkey’s potential contribution to the international coalition’s fight against ISIL.