British fighter jets are making their way to Iraq for their maiden combat mission, following yesterday's parliamentary vote in favour of air strikes in the region.
At 8.30 this morning, two Tornado GR4 fighter jets took off from their base in Cyprus, where they have been located since August. They are armed with Brimstone and Paveway missiles which they are authorised to use if they come across militants belonging to the Islamic State (IS).
"We can confirm that following Parliamentary approval given yesterday, Royal Air Force Tornados continue to fly over Iraq and are now ready to be used in an attack role as and when appropriate targets are identified,” a Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said.
Their flight over Iraq will be the result of a tasking given to them by the US Central Command, although precise details of the mission are unknown.
"For operational security reasons we will not be providing a running commentary on movements; we will provide an update on activity when it is appropriate to do so," the spokeswoman said.
The UK joins the US and a number of other countries in its attempt to target the Islamic State (IS) militant group. This week, the US started to carry out attacks in Syria for the first time.