NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE
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15 Apr 15. Iraq: OP SHADER.
. 15 Apr 15 – Tornado GR4 patrol attacked an ISIL mortar position near Bayji, followed by a successful strike on a building holding terrorists.
. 15 Apr 15 – Hellfire missile destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
. 16 Apr 15 – Reaper used its Hellfires to attack an ISIL position and an armoured vehicle.
. 17 Apr 15 – Reaper strike removed the threat posed by a large vehicle-borne IED.
. 19 Apr 15 – Further Reaper attacks in Western Iraq.
. 20 Apr 15 – Reaper identified an ambush prepared by ISIL.
Comment: It is hoped that the above format clarifies RAF activity (as confirmed by the MoD) in Iraq on
OP SHADER. Also operating as part of the coalition air campaign are RAF Sentinel and Sentry surveillance aircraft and a Voyager refuelling tanker. Hercules transport aircraft provide logistic support. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/17, 27 Apr 15)
24 Apr 15. Mediterranean Migrants: EU Response. At a meeting of European Union (EU) leaders in Brussels (24 Apr 15) the Prime Minister announced that the UK is preparing to send assistance to the Mediterranean “in light of recent tragedies”. HMS BULWARK, three Merlin Mk 2 helicopters and two (civilian) border patrol boats have been alerted.
The summit came after more than 750 people died on a boat crossing from Libya on 19 Apr 15. (Over 35,000 are thought to have crossed from Africa to Europe so far in 2015, with some 1,750 having died in the attempt.)
Comment: When the Prime Minister made the above announcement, HMS BULWARK was supporting the Gallipoli Centenary events in Turkey (see also Item 8) which she was due to leave on 26 Apr 15. The 19,000 tonne amphibious vessel is expected to work with surveillance helicopters in providing a day and night search and rescue capability.
Belgium, France and Germany were among other nations which pledged additional naval resources. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/17, 27 Apr 15)
24 Apr 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. For the first time since the start of the Ebola outbreak, a nationwide immunization campaign is taking place (as it is in Guinea and Liberia). UNICEP is supporting campaigns against measles and polio, among other diseases. (UN, 24 Apr 15.)
Comment: The UN Mission reported (24 Apr 15) that 26,074 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) have been reported in the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone). 10,820 deaths have been reported. The FCO continues to advise against all but essential travel to Sierra Leone, except for those involved in the direct response to the Ebola outbreak, due to the narrow commercial options for flights and the impact of the outbreak on medical facilities. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/17, 27 Apr 15)
20 Apr 15. HMS QUORN: NATO Tasking. The Royal Navy confirmed (20 Apr 15) that HMS QUORN has sailed from Portsmouth, bound for Glasgow where she is due to rendezvous with a NATO Task Group destined for the Baltic Sea. The Hunt Class Minehunter will join Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Squadron One (SNMCMG1).
Comment: HMS QUORN is to deploy for three months, taking over from HMS PEMBROKE. PEMBROKE, with the rest of SNMCMG1, has just completed (25 Apr 15) “nearly two weeks of intense multi-national training” on EX JOINT WARRIOR. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/17, 27 Apr 15)
22 Apr 15. Djibouti: NATO Recognition. NATO announced the establishment of a liaison office in Djibouti with the signature of an agreement, on
22 Apr 15, in support of the Alliance’s counter-piracy Operation. Comment: The Republic of Djibouti is an active regional partner in the international effort against