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Hammond in Iraq to meet country's new prime minister

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is in Iraq to meet the country's new prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

Hammond said he was holding discussions on combating extremism and improving national unity.

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HMS Defender in position to support US air strikes

HMS Defender, one of the Royal Navy's most advanced warships, has taken up position to support US forces as they carry out air strikes against Islamic State militants.

HMS Defender will help protect US aircraft targeting Islamic State. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

The Portsmouth-based ship is using its hi-tech air defence weapons to protect US navy aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush and her aircraft as they launch air strikes as part of the international coalition.

The Type-45 destroyer has an air defence radar and Sea Viper missile system which will form part of an "umbrella" of support for the Nimitz class aircraft carrier and its escort ships while they patrol the Gulf and launch air strikes against the terrorist group IS.

Deployed to the Gulf in June 2014, HMS Defender's primary role has been to conduct maritime security operations.

Its task is now is to build an accurate air surveillance picture over the whole of the Gulf in order to guard the US aircraft carrier against possible air attack.

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