July 15, 2015 / 11:32 AM / 4 years ago

British RAF base shuts for aviation after missile mishap

NICOSIA (Reuters) - British air operations from a base in Cyprus involved in the campaign against Islamic State were temporarily halted on Wednesday after two missiles fell off a warplane during landing, forcing its closure to takeoffs and landings.

The Royal Air Base of Akrotiri is being used in operations against Islamic State insurgents in northern Iraq. Two Brimstone missiles fell off a Tornado jet during landing on Wednesday morning, spokesman Kristian Gray said.

He would not say if the plane was returning from a mission.

“I can confirm that during a Tornado landing at Akrotiri two of its missiles became detached from the aircraft,” he said.

The missiles did not explode and no one was injured, Gray said.

“It was a heavy landing which caused the missiles to detach,” he said.

Gray declined to comment on whether the incident meant air operations against Islamic State were effectively suspended but said: “The runway is currently closed.”

Akrotiri is one of two sovereign military bases retained on the island by former colonial ruler Britain. It launched operations against Islamic State from the Cyprus base in September 2014.

Reporting By George Psyllides; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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