UK joins US on frontlines after ISIS video

London - Britain joined the United States on the frontline against the Islamic State (ISIS) on Wednesday after a British hostage's life was threatened in a gruesome video, with London saying it would not rule out taking part in air strikes if necessary.

"I can assure you that we will look at every possible option to protect this person," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said after an emergency government meeting held on the eve of a two-day summit of Nato leaders in Wales.

Cameron chaired the meeting, which was called after the release on Tuesday of a video showing the execution of a second US journalist by Islamist fighters in Iraq.

"A country like ours will not be cowed," Cameron said, adding: "We will not waver in our aim of defeating terrorism".

In a video showing the severed head of 31-year-old Steven Sotloff, a masked militant warned that a British man, widely identified as David Cawthorne Haines, would be killed in response to US air strikes against militants in northern Iraq.

Britain and the US have both authenticated the recording.

The militant spoke English with a British accent similar to that of the alleged killer of journalist James Foley in a video released by Islamic State extremists last month.

"We will look very carefully at the options available to us to support the legitimate government of Iraq and Kurdistan in defending themselves," Hammond said.

"If we judge that air strikes could be beneficial, could be the best way to do that, then we will certainly consider them but we have made no decision to do so at the moment.

"We have to deal with ISIS on the basis of the wider threat that they pose to the British public as well as this individual," he said.

'Barbaric killers'

Speaking on Tuesday, Cameron condemned Sotloff's beheading as "a despicable and barbaric murder".

"ISIL terrorists speak for no religion," Cameron said.

"The only way to defeat it is to stand firm and to send a very straightforward message - a country like ours will not be cowed by these barbaric killers.

"If they think that we will weaken in the face of their threats, they are wrong. It will have the opposite effect. We will be more forthright in the defence of the values - liberty under the rule of law, freedom, democracy - that we hold dear, and I'm sure a united message to that effect will go forward from this House today," he told parliament.

Britain has so far not joined in US air strikes against the Islamist fighters, but has helped arm Kurds fighting in northern Iraq and has dropped aid to people surrounded by IS fighters on Mount Sinjar and in the town of Amerli.

Earlier this week, however, Cameron implied he could order air strikes without prior approval from parliament - something the government failed to get last year when it was considering retaliation for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Cameron said he would keep parliament "permanently updated".

"If, however, something needed to be done urgently to protect a particular British national interest or to prevent some humanitarian catastrophe, it might be necessary to act and then come to parliament," he said on Monday.

"We have to make a judgment about how we best help those on the ground, and to date that judgment has been to provide aid and political support and to help with certain military aspects.

"The Americans have gone further and provided air strikes. I think that is the right way to approach this problem," he said.

Read more on: isis david cameron us iraq
Anthony Rees 2014-09-03 10:16:01 PM
This is all one big eloborate setup (killings of US and UK journalists) as an excuse to go to war by the West. Its a long term plan in execution, spanning decades. And the press play their part perfectly. And the sheeple get led into wonderland again and again.
Albie Holt 2014-09-03 10:18:30 PM
The Israelis would have there man out by now
Kobus Van der Linde 2014-09-03 10:46:30 PM
You don't mess with the Royal Marines. James Cameron means business
Johannes Smid 2014-09-03 11:01:10 PM
Fascinated by this response by Cameron. The UK intelligence concluded the previous video was fake. It was front-page news in the UK! This video is almost a carbon copy of the previous. Why on Earth would Cameron get involved? Perhaps we should get some guy from Zimbabwe to pretend to be a Mugabe supporter pull the same stunt and get the UK to take out old Rob?
Neil Roux 2014-09-03 11:10:16 PM
Why would they care now.Its only because it's Iraq.Iraq has oil.Now the US and Uk are worried that Iraqs oil reserves they fought for in Operation Iraqi Freedom would been in vain.This is all their fault ISIS us taking over.They destabilised Iraq. Why do Australia also now suddenly care.Cause there's money and oil at stake. Let the Iraqis fight for their own freedom to choose. But the Western countries like to install puppet regimes.
Avhashoni Tshatsinde 2014-09-03 11:51:35 PM
isis a creation of the cia, mossad n mi5
Abra Dhlamini 2014-09-04 03:14:38 AM
What a shame! About UK & USA never get tired about stealing Arab countries killing innocent people,live those Arab alone busters! You have killed all Arab countries President,how long you will continue,with your lies stealing killing innocent people,
Abra Dhlamini 2014-09-04 03:15:58 AM
What a shame! About UK & USA never get tired about stealing Arab countries killing innocent people,live those Arab alone busters! You have killed all Arab countries President,how long you will continue,with your lies stealing killing innocent people,
Dan Steel 2014-09-04 04:15:05 AM
Shame indeed Abra. The UK & US only feel it RIGHT to exercise MIGHT and never thinking to sit down and talk peace. Their first resolve is always fire. For 1 American, 100 Iraqi lives will be at risk. Pathetic, barbaric and illogical.
Silas Tom 2014-09-04 06:54:46 AM
To reduce this senseless isis killing the british and american citizens must stop visiting this countries either on work purposes or any other mission