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© Photo: AFP (file photo)

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-08-18

Islamic militants sweeping across Syria and Iraq are a direct threat to Britain and the country must use all its "military prowess" to halt their advance, Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Cameron warned that unless the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), which now calls itself the Islamic State organisation (IS), is defeated, terrorists with “murderous intent” will target people in Britain.

But the Conservative Party leader said he did not think British troops should be deployed in Iraq, and that he would consider working with Iran to combat the jihadist threat.

"If we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain," he said.

"I agree that we should avoid sending armies to fight or occupy, but we need to recognise that the brighter future we long for requires a long-term plan."

Cameron argued that security could only be achieved "if we use all our resources – aid, diplomacy, our military prowess."

He also said Britain needed to work with countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Egypt, Turkey "and perhaps even with Iran".

A high-ranking Anglican bishop on Sunday slammed Cameron's Middle East policy in a letter that had the backing of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

"We do not seem to have a coherent or comprehensive approach to Islamic extremism as it is developing across the globe," the bishop of Leeds, Nicholas Baines, wrote in the letter, sent to the Observer newspaper.

Britain has held back from joining the US in conducting air strikes against IS militants in Iraq, who have taken control of vast swathes of the country since launching an offensive in June and have been accused of multiple atrocities particularly against Iraq’s religious minorities.

However, Britain has carried out emergency aid airdrops in Iraq, conducted surveillance flights and said it is prepared to send arms to Kurdish forces battling IS.

Defence Minister Michael Fallon said on Saturday that Britain would keep up its surveillance flights over northern Iraq to try to stop more minority groups coming under jihadist attack.

Britain deployed Tornado fighter jets to Akrotiri earlier this month, which will now be joined by the Royal Air Force's most modern surveillance aircraft, the Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-08-17

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