With Britain launching airstrikes on ISIS targets on Thursday, the Islamic State has threatened to carry out terror attacks across the U.K. similar to those carried out in Paris on Nov. 13.
Four Royal Air Force Tornadoes carried out airstrikes in Syria hours after Parliament voted to authorize military operations against ISIS group targets there, according to Fox News. ISIS militants, meanwhile, threaten bloody massacres for countries taking part in the U.S.-led coalition as they carried out the deadliest terror attack in France since the World War II, killing 130 people on Nov. 13.
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After the Paris attacks, both France and the U.S. urged Britain to join their air campaign in Syria, and Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. cannot let its allies down. In response, ISIS’ propaganda magazine Dar Al Islam issued a deadly warning of imminent attacks on the countries bombing ISIS targets in Syria, including the U.K, according to the Daily Express.
“France and those who follow its course should know they remain the principle targets of ISIS and they will continue to smell the odor of death for having taken lead of the crusade, for having dared insult our prophet, for bragging about fighting Islam in France and having hit Muslims on the land of the Caliphate with their planes which did them no good in the smelly streets of Paris,” the article in Dar Al Islam read.
ISIS warned that the Paris attack was only the “beginning of the storm,” and went as far as saying that “numerous” countries involved in airstrikes “will be targeted in the coming months.” The Islamic State also criticized France’s “stupid reaction” after the attacks.
President François Hollande declared “war” on ISIS after the Paris attacks, beefing up France’s airstrike campaign against ISIS targets in Syria.
London is vulnerable to Paris-style terror attacks: British Defense Secretary
The threat of Britain being targeted by ISIS terror attacks is as “potent” as it was in Paris, according to British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.
“What happened in Paris can easily happen in London. The threat to the UK is extremely high. An attack is highly likely so we have to respond,” Fallon said, as reported by The Independent.
He also noted that other big U.K. cities such as Manchester and Glasgow could easily become targets of ISIS terror attacks even though British security forces are working in full capacity to prevent terrorist threats. And with Britain starting to bomb ISIS militants in Syria on Thursday, the chances that the terror group has shifted its focus to make the U.K. its next target of terror attacks are extremely high.
Britain uses Tornado aircraft to destroy ISIS in Syria
With Britain launching its first airstrikes in Syria, many military experts wonder what types of weapons the country is planning to use against ISIS militants. Britain currently operates at two bases for manned bombing flights over Iraq and surveillance flights over Syria, according to Sputnik News.
Combined, these bases house a number of aircraft that Britain could use in Syria in the coming days. The Tornadoes Britain has already started using in Syria are equipped with missiles and bombs that offer high accuracy. Four out of eight Tornadoes stationed at the RAF’s base in Cyprus were used on Thursday, while two more aircraft will be deployed in the coming days.
Britain also operates ten Reaper drones, which fly out of a base in Kuwait. The Reapers, which have been used against the Taliban in Afghanistan, are now conducting surveillance journeys over Syria. The Reapers feature Hellfire missiles, each of them costing about $106,000, according to Sputnik News.
Moreover, Britain has a fleet of manned aircraft, including two Sentinel aircraft and a Sentry airborne control system aircraft, and two Airseeker intelligence-gathering aircraft, all of which are currently performing surveillance flights to gather intelligence on ISIS in Syria.
Russia responds to Britain’s airstrikes in Syria
Russia, which has been bombing ISIS since the end of September, has welcomed Britain’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and has called for a “broader coalition” to wipe out the terrorists.
“We continue to welcome any action aimed at fighting terrorism,” Russia President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian media as saying on Thursday, according to Press TV.
Peskov reiterated the need to create a broader coalition, saying that any military operation without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s approval does not have a legal basis.
“We believe that if such efforts are coordinated as part of a single coalition, they would become more effective,” Putin’s spokesman said.
He also added that Moscow’s “doors are open” to create a coalition that would include Russia and some Western and Middle Eastern states. The U.K. joined the U.S.-led coalition in airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq in 2014.
Russia is opening second airbase in Syria amid nuclear war fears
Russia, meanwhile, is set to open a second airbase on top of the Latakia airbase in Syria. The al-Shayrat air base is stationed near the central city of Homs and is set to house new jets and troops with an aim to destroy ISIS. The center already hosts several Russian attack helicopters and a team of around 60 soldiers.
The move comes amid what has already been called the most dangerous military encounter between NATO and Russia’s armed forces in over 50 years. Last week, Turkey, a NATO member state, shot down Russia’s Su-24 jet in Turkish airspace. Turkey claims it had issued ten warnings in five minutes to the Russian jet but that it ignored all the warnings and so two Turkish F-16 jets were sent to destroy it.
But the Russian Defense Ministry insists its fighter jet never intruded into Turkish airspace and was flying over Syrian territory. Russia has already responded by deploying deadly S-400 missile systems to Syria, but a more robust response from Vladimir Putin is expected, including the use of nuclear weapons, according to top defense analysts.