British aircrew wrote ‘Love from Manchester’ on a missile set to target ISIL in Syria, it’s been confirmed.
Ministry of Defence officials said the message – written after so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack at Manchester Arena which left 22 people dead – was not a hoax.
The picture emerged on Twitter and was said to have been written by an RAF squadron before taking off on a mission to Syria.
US and Russian forces both wrote similar messages following the suicide attacks on Paris in November 2015.
The latest episode has drawn criticism from some quarters.
Harriet Williamson, writing for the Independent, said: “After the appalling tragedy in my hometown of Manchester on Monday night, the photograph sickens me. It utterly disrespects the people of my wonderful city by slapping our name on a missile, an instrument for causing death and destruction, mere days after a terrible loss of life occurred where we live.
“The people of Manchester have pulled together in a time of crisis, showing incredible strength in supporting one another, regardless of religion, ethnicity or background. Manchester is grieving. We want healing, not more violence and horror.
“The words written on the bomb are an unpleasant example of everything that’s wrong with our current approach to foreign policy and our penchant for funding chaotic conflicts that further destabilise countries and create the conditions ideal for extremism to flourish. It is the very embodiment of ‘an eye for an eye’, which we all know leaves the whole world blind.”