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Britain joins the war against Islamic State, carries out first air strikes in Syria

Britain joined the US-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria on Thursday, with air strikes beginning just hours after a decisive parliamentary vote.

Royal Air Force planes based in Cyprus had returned from the “first offensive operation over Syria and have conducted strikes”, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said early Thursday, following a vote Wednesday evening.

He refused to give details of the specific sites targeted.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government was backed by 397 lawmakers compared to 223 who opposed the bombing, giving him the strong mandate he said was essential for military action.

Cameron welcomed the result of the House of Commons vote, writing on Twitter: “I believe the house has taken the right decision to keep the UK safe — military action in Syria as one part of a broader strategy.”

It was also immediately hailed by US President Barack Obama, who said the US would “look forward to having British forces flying with the coalition over Syria”.

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