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[英伦广角] 2014-10-04 英国议会授权对伊拉克的“伊斯兰国”武装进行空袭

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They return to base safely and with their weapons intact. They maybe battle ready. But this time they chose not to unleash missiles on Islamic States. Their return to Cyprus came eight hours after they walked out to cross the tarmac knowing this time it was different. The crews are chosen from the RAF’s most skilled men and women. Their Tornado jets are now fully armed and authorized to attack. British airstrikes are in their hands.

This is the start of U.K. combat operations in Iraq. None of these crews know quite when it will end.

The task of selecting and attaching missiles is now part of the job at RAF Akrotiri.

“Involved?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s it.”

These jests have been flying over Iraq for weeks, working out where I.S. fighters are. The information changes all the time, that’s why they held fire. Next time it will be different again.

"We are one part of a large international coalition. But the crucial part of that coalition is that it is led by the Iraqi government, the legitimate government of Iraq, and its security forces. We are there to play our part and to help deal with this appalling terrorist organization."

Soon after the Tornados set off, their support team, the RAF voyagers were sent out -- a flying patrol station allowing the jets to fly longer and further.

The flights that these Tornados take in the coming days and weeks may be very similar to the reconnaissance missions they’ve been flying over northern Iraq for the past month. Now though the rules of engagement have changed.

The Ministry of Defense say the very presence of these jets in the skies influences what Islamic State do. They are a new enemy in an old war zone and it’s a war Britain is now in.

Tom Parmenter, Sky News, RAF Akrotiri.
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