Antony Loyd in the Times (£):
British special forces fired a missile to destroy an Islamic State truck packed with explosives in Libya this month, it can be revealed.
The attack, which helped Libyan militias to halt the terrorists’ advance on the strategic city of Misrata, is the first evidence that British soldiers have a combat role against Isis in Libya. The disclosure prompted claims from MPs that parliament was being bypassed over Britain’s role in the civil war.
Commander Mohammed Durat, a leading military figure in Misrata, revealed details of the attack. “My unit works just with the English. I have met with them personally and they have destroyed two suicide vehicles that were targeting my fighters,” he said.
Local militiamen were fleeing from an approaching vehicle designed to be used as a bomb at a bridge on the road to Misrata when British special forces destroyed it. “The Americans and English are working here together helping us,” Commander Durat said....
Ill equipped to deal with Isis’s ruthless tactics and the fast-moving armoured vehicles used in suicide attacks, Libyan fighters east of Misrata suffered a series of battlefield defeats this month. Isis has been trying to extend its territory west along the Mediterranean from its stronghold in Sirte.
On May 12 at Shaddadah Bridge, 50 miles south of Misrata, Libyan fighters abandoned their positions in panic at the approach of a suicide vehicle. British special forces — from either the Special Air Service or Special Boat Service — destroyed it with what is believed to be a Javelin missile. The move allowed the Libyans to regroup.
Yesterday MPs claimed that special forces were being used in conventional combat roles to get around the need for parliament’s approval. “The convention that we don’t comment on special forces operations or seek parliamentary authorisation will be undermined if they are used as conventional forces,” Crispin Blunt, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said.
Emily Thornberry, shadow defence secretary, said that when special forces were deployed in “quasi-conventional” combat roles “it is right to have some form of parliamentary scrutiny of the strategy behind those deployments”.
The Ministry of Defence does not comment on special forces operations.
Something to celebrate, surely. Though we can be fairly sure that, were this to be debated in the Commons, Labour under Corbyn would be strongly opposed.
The house opposite to ours has a "Stop Bombing Syria" sign displayed prominently in the window (from the Stop the War mob). Well, this is Corbyn's home turf, Islington North. I've been meaning to ask who it's addressed to - any passing Russians, perhaps? Assad? - but can't quite be bothered. Presumably it'll now be joined by a "Stop Bombing Libya" sign. They won't be able to see out of their window for all the virtue-signalling.