Ministry of Defence spent £800million fighting Isis in three years
Almost £800million has been spent by the Ministry of Defence fighting Islamic State over the past three years, according to new figures.
In the 2016/17 financial year alone, the UK spent £469.4 million striking terror targets in Iraq and Syria.
The figures, released to Parliament from defence minister Earl Howe, show anti-Isis operations cost £262.4million the year before and £47.2million in 2014/15.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has said the UK will continue striking terror targets until Isis had been driven out of Syria and Iraq.
But the figures come amid mounting concern over threats to civilians after ministers warned the UK ‘must accept the risk of inadvertent civilian casualties’ while Isis is driven from its last remaining strongholds.
An MoD spokesman said: ‘Since October 2014 the UK has conducted over 1,600 air strikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria and trained over 57,000 members of the Iraqi and peshmerga security forces, as well as providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the coalition.
‘The total net cost of operations against Daesh in Iraq and Syria is £779million, which includes operational allowances, accommodation and feeding support for the thousands of personnel who have served on Operation Shader, as well as costs associated with air operations including fuel and precision guided munitions.’
The UK is part of a global coalition fighting the terror group, with Britain’s military contribution second only to the US.
Separate MoD figures suggest that up to the end of July, RAF strikes have killed an estimated 2,684 Isis fighters in Iraq since 2014, with another 410 killed in Syria since 2015.
US-backed Kurdish forces announced on Tuesday that military operations in Raqqa have ended after its fighters took full control of the Syrian city back.
Raqqa had served as the capital of the terror cell’s so-called ‘caliphate’ since 2014 and had been under the group’s control for more than three-and-a-half years.
The new MoD figures come as a senior security official warned Isis and other terrorist groups could be plotting another major attack on the scale of 9/11.
Elaine Duke, acting US Homeland Security secretary, said: ‘The terrorist organisations, be it Isis or others, want to have the big explosion like they did on 9/11.
‘They want to take down aircraft, the intelligence is clear on that.’