By Andria Kades
British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Saturday everyone was at risk from Islamic State (IS) terror attacks, during a visit he paid to the Sovereign Base Areas (SBA), and after a meeting he had with President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.
The visit had been unannounced. Speaking to reporters at RAF Akrotiri after addressing military personnel, Fallon said: “Terrorism depends on oil and this is what helps ISIS conduct operations in Western Europe which endanger all of us. “They are a danger to Britain, they are a danger to Cyprus.”
Asked whether Cyprus could now be at risk of terrorist attacks, Fallon said everyone was. “It is only through cooperation with the Cypriot government that the fight against terrorism can be accomplished because it is in Britain’s interest, France’s interest and also Cyprus’ interest to deal with this terrorism once and for all,” he said.
He added both Cyprus and Britain were working together on security issues even though they were on two opposite ends of the Mediterranean.
Commenting on his earlier meeting with Anastasiades, Fallon said “Britain was ready to help in every way towards a sustainable settlement that will bring security to the island.”
He thanked the president for Cyprus’ cooperation and help for the migrants that arrived to the bases recently.
Painting a picture of terrorists as a different kind of enemy altogether, Fallon said “this was a new kind of terrorism that has no requests, does not take hostages, does not wish to negotiate” meaning the campaign against them would not be short or easy.
These terrorists are different, he added, in the very essence of their being compared to “people that choose their government, accept laws, accept other religions.”
Although soldiers may have their orders, they also have the British parliament’s and people’s support he added.
Fallon revealed that RAF fighters were preparing to target the leadership of IS, as British war planes again hit a Syrian oil field controlled by the extremists.
He said future missions would see them attack IS’s headquarters and its command and control structure.
“We are going to use force against them in the headquarters, their command and control, their logistics, but also in the infrastructure that supports them,” he told the Press Association.
The latest overnight raids saw the RAF Typhoons which arrived on the island on Thursday deployed for the first time on combat operations against IS – also referred to as Isis, Isil or Daesh.
Two Typhoon FGR4ss and two Tornado GR4s returned to the Omar oil field – scene of the first bombing raids after Wednesday’s Commons vote authorising air strikes – where they carried out eight attacks using Paveway IV guided bombs.
“Early reports suggest that they were successful,” the British Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
Fallon told the UK Press Association at Akrotiri that RAF fighter jets targeted another Syrian oilfield during the second combat sortie
The agency said he thanked military personnel for their commitment to tackling the terrorist threat in Syria and Iraq.
“Last night we saw the RAF Typhoons, which have only just arrived here from Scotland, striking successfully for the first time within 24 hours or so of their arrival, which is a pretty impressive achievement.
“Last night saw the full force of the RAF.”
Asked if the military were asked to target areas with a low risk of civilian casualties to appease public dissent in the UK, Fallon said: “Nobody likes strikes, nobody likes warfare, but when you’re dealing with people who are not negotiating with you but simply want to kill as many Westerners or Brits as possible, then you have to use force.”