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BRITAIN staged air strikes in Iraq during PM Boris Johnson’s hospital stay this month just a week after the government offered support for a global ceasefire during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) admitted on Saturday that the Royal Air Force (RAF) had carried out the attacks, which are the first known aerial strikes by British troops for seven months.
The bombing, which the MoD said took place on April 10, was reportedly part of a counter-terrorism operation in northern Iraq.
The government said that the RAF identified Isis terrorists in an isolated location west of Tuz Khurma that is known to be inhabited by active terrorist commanders and fighters.
In an online statement, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that the government was continuing to take “whatever steps are necessary … to keep the nation safe.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had announced on April 3 that Britain backed the UN’s calls for a global ceasefire during the crisis.
The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) accused the government of attempting to hide from scrutiny by quietly mentioning the bombing while the media is focused on Covid-19.
The PPU said that the government must say whether armed forces leaders consulted with ministers on the bombing and which ministers knew about and approved it while Mr Johnson was in hospital.
PPU campaigns manager Symon Hill said: “Ministers and military bosses must not be allowed to misuse the Covid-19 crisis to avoid scrutiny.
“They have urgent questions to answer. We need details of the incident and realistic information about casualties, including civilians.
“In the last two decades, events in Iraq have made it very clear that violence cannot solve deep-seated problems, whoever engages in it.”
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