Mr Cameron agreed to provide two cargo planes to the French armed forces to fly vital kit and supplies to Mali David Cameron was last night accused of putting Britain at risk of a terror strike after helping France fight Al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali.
The Prime Minister was warned that the decision to transport foreign troops and equipment to the war zone could provoke reprisals on UK streets.
He agreed to provide two RAF C-17 Globemaster cargo planes to the French forces. Mr Cameron insisted that British combat troops would not join the military mission to the west African nation.
France has deployed 550 soldiers to its former colony and launched a wave of air strikes to thwart an advance by Islamist rebels.
Western leaders fear that Mali’s lawless northern desert could become a haven for terrorists to plan and launch international attacks.
‘These military interventions always start quietly and then after a while, when things don’t go to plan, we get sucked in and we end up in another endless and costly war.’
Chris Nineham, of the Stop The War Coalition, said: ‘The record of the past 12 years is of increasing anger on our streets and the risk of more attacks. This is no exception.’
The Ministry of Defence said the first C-17 transport plane left RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire yesterday afternoon. The second was scheduled to leave early today.
Both 128-ton aircraft will be loaded with 77 tons of equipment in France. They will then fly to Mali, unload the cargo and return home.
The key Mali city of Konna was recaptured following three days of fierce clashesBritain plans to send two Army officers to help train local soldiers to fight the Islamists. Malian forces could also go to Ghana, Sierra Leona and Nigeria to support a 3,000-strong African peace force.
Mr Cameron agreed to help after a phone call with French president Francois Hollande. Africa Minister Mark Simmonds said: ‘We are only providing limited logistical support. The terrorists made their plans clear before intervention, and before we responded to the French request.’
The US is also providing communications and transport and has offered armed drones to support the mission.
As the military operation began, Mr Hollande sent French special forces into Somalia in east Africa, in a failed attempt to rescue hostage Denis Allex from Al Qaeda warlords.
Mr Allex and two French soldiers are believed to have died in a firefight in the village of Bulo Marer. At least 17 rebels were killed.
Mr Allex, a codename, was a French intelligence agent held by militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab since his kidnap in July 2009.