A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F / A-18F Super Hornet over Iraq
Australia’s F / A18F Super Hornets have flown 89 sorties as part of the international coalition against Isis in Iraq. Photograph: Australian Defence Force, Andrew Eddie / AAP Image
Daniel Hurst , Political correspondent
Tuesday 4 November 2014 21.58 EST
Dropped bombs from Australian Super Hornet combat aircraft in Iraq have hit 14 Targets, 11 of which destroyed provenance, Defence Officials have said.
The Australian Defence Force Provided the figures on Wednesday for Operations conducted Since the Government Gave the go-ahead for RAAF strikes Against Islamic State (Isis) Militants in early October.
The chief of joint operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, said he was hopeful the 200 Australian special forces members would move into Iraq within the next week, having been in the United Arab Emirates since September awaiting final clearance.
They would mostly be based in Baghdad and would advise and assist the Iraqi security forces’ counter-terrorism section, Johnston said.
Australia’s F / A18F Super Hornets have flown 89 sorties as part of the international coalition against Isis in Iraq, equating to 663 hours in the air, according to updated figures on Wednesday.
“They’ve employed 27 laser or GPS-guided 500-pound bombs, striking a number of [Isis] targets,” Johnston said.
“Twenty-five of those bombs have been dropped over the last month. Fourteen targets have been hit by Australian aircraft – 11 confirmed destroyed and three assessed as damaged. ”
Those targets included Isis logistics bases and equipment storage facilities.
The attorney general, George Brandis, said on Monday 15 Australians Had Been Killed in Iraq and Syria for the while fighting groups Including Isis.
Johnston said he had no information to suggest RAAF air strikes had caused those casualties. Nor was he aware of any civilian deaths from RAAF strikes.
Johnston said arrangements to deploy the special forces were in their final stages and he expected they would move into Iraq soon.
The New Zealand prime Minister, John Key, Signalled on Wednesday he wanted to co-operate with Australia to build the capacity of the Iraqi security Forces, the while ruling out sending special Forces or Troops into combat roles.
“Should New Zealand military personnel be deployed in Iraq, they would be behind the wire and limited to training local forces in order to counter [Isis] and legitimately protect innocent people,” he said.
Key also announced changes to security laws after revealing that NZ security agencies had a “a watch-list of between 30 and 40 people of concern in the foreign fighter context”.
The changes would allow “emergency” surveillance of people for 48 hours before a warrant could be obtained. Also the NZ Government wants a mechanism to suspend Passports to Prevent Citizens leaving to join Extremist groups fighting in the Middle East .
Echoing the Australian government, Key argued countries were bound by a UN security council resolution to prevent the departure of foreign fighters, saying such citizens would pose a bigger risk if they travelled to the region, became radicalised and then sought to return home.
“I think most New Zealanders understand that we do not want to have a reputation for exporting foreign terrorist fighters to places which already have more than enough of them,” Key said.
The counter-terrorism bill passed by the Australian parliament last week included greater powers for the government to suspend passports and a mechanism to prohibit travel to declared conflict zones without a legitimate purpose.