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US warplanes have dropped 40 tonnes of explosives on an island in northern Iraq to annihilate an Islamic State hideout.

F-15 and F-35 fighter jets were used in the joint operation between US-led coalition forces and the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service, which targeted Qanus Island in the Tigris River.

Footage of the attack on IS – also known as Daesh and ISIS – was released by the coalition in a tweet, saying: “Here’s what it looks like when @USAFCENT #F15 and #F35 jets drop 36,000 Kg of bombs on a Daesh infested island.”

Qanus Island, which sits in the Tigris River, before the US-led attack. Pic: CJTF-OIR
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Qanus Island in northern Iraq, which sits in the Tigris River, before the US-led attack. Pics: CJTF-OIR

It showed aerial views of the mile-and-a-half-long island before, during and after its obliteration.

The island lit up as several dozens of bombs were dropped in quick succession, creating large explosions which unleashed huge plumes of fire and smoke into the sky.

40 tons of explosives were dropped on Qanus Island
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40 tonnes of explosives were dropped on Qanus Island

Soldiers and military vehicles could also be seen on the ground, against the backdrop of the airstrikes.

Based on the footage, the island did not appear to be inhabited, but areas on either side of the river, on the mainland, appeared to be settled. It is unclear if civilians were moved before the attack.

The airstrikes were carried out across the mile-and-a-half-long Qanus Island
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The airstrikes were carried out across the mile-and-a-half-long Qanus Island

Major General Eric T Hill said: “We’re denying Daesh the ability to hide on Qanus Island.

“We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region.”

Soldiers and military vehicles could also be seen on the ground
Image:
Soldiers and military vehicles could also be seen on the ground

Follow-on ground clearance operations are currently being led by the 2nd Iraqi Special Operations Forces Battalion to destroy a major transit hub for IS fighters moving from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour and the Kirkuk region.

In February, US President Donald Trump said coalition forces had “liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by ISIS in Syria and Iraq”.

Forces said the aim of the attack was to stop IS fighters from hiding on Qanus Island
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Forces said the aim of the attack was to stop IS fighters from hiding on Qanus Island

However, elements of the group remain active and it has been tied to numerous incidents in Iraq since.

The attack took place on the same day as Mr Trump announced that he had sacked his national security adviser John Bolton.

Mr Bolton – who was a strong supporter of the 2003 Iraq war – gave his own version of events, saying he had resigned.

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Saudi Arabia drone attacks – Johnson refuses to rule out military action | World News

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Britain has formally identified Iran as being behind drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabian oil fields, raising the chance of the UK joining military efforts in the Middle East.

Boris Johnson says the UK government is attributing responsibility to the regime in Tehran “with a very high degree of probability”.

Flying to New York for the UN General Assembly, the prime minister said he wanted to “de-escalate tensions” but refused to rule out taking part in any coordinated military action if Britain is asked to do so.

The prime minister says he has  the 'greatest respect' for the judiciary in the UK
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The PM has refused to rule out military action against Iran

The UK has followed the United States and Saudi Arabia in pointing the finger of blame at Iran, rather than accepting the claims of responsibility by Houthi rebels for the attacks a week ago – the Iranians have denied any involvement.

Drone and cruise missile strikes crippled the Khurais oil field and Abqaiq oil processing facility in eastern Saudi Arabia, a key part of the country’s oil production infrastructure.

Mike Pompeo
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Mike Pompeo described the attacks an ‘act of war’

Mike Pompey, the US Secretary of State, has called the attacks an “act of war”.

Mr Johnson has made it clear that he was prepared to consider all requests for assistance as he prepares to meet both President Donald Trump and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in the sidelines of the UN meeting.

Donald Trump was said to have been close to his personal assistant
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The PM will meet Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly

Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson said: “Everyone wants to do what they can to bring the world together in response to what happened in Saudi Arabia in our management of Iran.

“The UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks. We think it is very likely that Iran was indeed responsible. Using both UAVs, both drones and cruise missiles. The difficulty is how do we organise a global response – what is the way forward?

“We will be working with our American friends and our European friends to construct a response that tries to de-escalate tensions in the Gulf region.”

Workers at the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq
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Workers at the damaged site of Saudi Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq

Britain is understood to have concluded that the Houthis claim it is responsible is implausible, based on imagery which sources said show remnants of Iranian-made missiles that have a range and sophistication inconsistent with the Houthis.

This level of sophistication, Britain believes, points to Iranian involvement which the British government has conclude is implausible without authorisation by the Iranian government

Asked whether he would rule out military action and stick with the Iran nuclear deal, Mr Johnson replied: “Well – on what kind of action we could take, you’ll have seen the Americans are proposing to do more to help to defend Saudi Arabia.

“We will be following that closely and clearly if we are asked by the Americans or Saudis to have a role, we will consider in what way we can be useful.”

Pressed on whether this could mean Britain taking part in military action, he replied: “We will consider all (options) if asked and depending on what exact plan.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is reunited with her daughter after being granted a temporary release from prison
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Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since 2016

Mr Johnson said he would be raising the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British Iranian jailed national when he meets with President Rouhani.

“On Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other very sad dual national consular cases held in Tehran, as you can imagine in the course of my talks with President Rouhani which I will also be having – in my talks with President Rouhani I will not only be discussing Iran’s actions in the region but the need to release not just Nazanin but others, and I will argue they are being illegally held.”

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Archie heads to South Africa for first royal tour with mum and dad | World News

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Harry and Meghan’s baby Archie will arrive in South Africa with his parents this morning for their first official tour as a family.

It is unclear how soon the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be seen with their son after their arrival in Cape Town, as there is no formal photo opportunity at the airport.

The palace said this was due to South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa being at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Buckingham Palace said earlier this month that they were hoping Archie would make a public appearance but were sorting out the details.

The palace said the couple are looking forward to the 10-day tour which will see them visit Cape Town and Johannesburg, with Prince Harry also travelling alone to Botswana, Angola and Malawi.

Duke of Sussex says he will only have two children because of climate change concerns
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Archie was born in May this year and was introduced to the world by his parents

The prospect of seeing five-month-old Archie on his first overseas tour has increased international media attention, with 80 travelling media accredited to cover the trip, along with another 300 local journalists, TV crews and photographers.

It comes after a difficult summer for the Sussexes, including criticism of the £2m bill to refurbish Frogmore Cottage, and suggestions they were being hypocritical for using private jets for their holidays while campaigning about issues around climate change. Some royal commentators see this tour as an opportunity to rebuild their reputation.

One of the issues the couple will focus on is gender-based violence, as their visit follows a series of protests in South Africa against the increase in the number of women being raped and murdered. Mr Ramaphosa admitted the country is facing a national crisis of violence against women, and Meghan is expected to show support for those campaigning on the issue.

Zintle Olayi, the Cape Town spokesperson for #TheTotalShutdown intersectional women’s movement, told Sky News: “I think our country is really broken, and we’re not ok and I’m not sure really how we are going to receive them coming here but definitely it couldn’t hurt to have someone of that profile or that magnitude to speak on the issues of gender-based violence.”

Talking about the impact Meghan could have, Ms Olayi added: “It means the state will take us seriously, the private sector will take us seriously and in general men in South Africa will take us seriously, seeing someone as Meghan speaking against the behaviour men inflict on women on a daily basis.”

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The first engagement of the tour will be at a township in Cape Town where the Sussexes will view a workshop that teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety and which provides self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community.

They will then go to the District Six Museum to learn about how they are reuniting members of the community forcibly relocated during the apartheid era, when more than more than 60,000 people were forced to leave their homes.

WOKINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor attend The King Power Royal Charity Polo Day at Billingbear Polo Club on July 10, 2019 in Wokingham, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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Harry and Meghan were seen with baby Archie at the polo in July

Shahied Ajam was living there at the time and now helps those still fighting to return. Speaking about the royal visit and the painful legacy of apartheid, he said: “For Prince Harry to come here, I must say, is a big step towards the what we call the healing process. If people see Harry and talk to him, maybe he will understand and identify with their plight.”

He added: “In regards to the history of the English, or Britain, in this country, if we speak in terms of colonialism we can’t wipe that away but Harry being of a new generation can turn the tables with a gesture. With a practical and tangible gesture to say to the people of District Six: ‘I’m here for you’.”

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<a href='https://news.sky.com/story/sky-views-athletics-is-rarely-mentioned-and-it-only-has-itself-to-blame-11817526' target='_blank'>Athletics is rarely mentioned and it only has itself to blame</a>

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