Six months on from the UK’s first drone strike against ISIS, new figures have been released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to Drone Wars UK detailing the number of air and drone strikes that have been undertaken by UK forces in Iraq.
Responding to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request from Drone Wars UK, the MoD state that 202 British strikes have targeted ISIS in Iraq up until the end of March 2015. At least a further 32 strikes have taken place in April according to the MoD’s Iraq Update webpage giving a minimum total of 234 UK strikes in Iraq at the end of April 2015. 100 of these have been carried out by drones.
While the Ministry of Defence gives brief details of some strikes on its Iraq Update web page, our latest Freedom of Information request reveals that details of about 20% of the strikes that have taken place in Iraq remain hidden.While this could conceivably be simply down to sloppy reporting, the MoD told Tom Watson MP in March 2015 that although the “over-riding principle is to seek to place information on each strike in the public domain in a prompt and timely manner”… “detail of each individual strike is carefully considered against the necessary constraint of maintaining operational security…” In reality although we have overall statistics on numbers of strikes, details of one in five of the UK’s air and drone strikes in Iraq are undisclosed.