The British Parliament may be recalled on Friday to debate the situation in Iraq and Syria, and whether the United Kingdom should join the United States and its Middle East allies in airstrikes against the bases of the Islamic State (IS).
Bombing by the U.S. against IS military centres began on Tuesday targeting the militant group’s military bases and headquarters in Syria. Britain is already airdropping supplies to the Kurds.
The Iraqi Prime Minister is likely to make a formal request to Britain to join the anti-IS military coalition, BBC reported. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates joined the U.S. strikes on the first day of operations.
In contrast to the political mood in 2013, when the British Parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposal to intervene militarily in Syria, there is greater support now for bombing IS bases.
In an interview with NBC, Mr. Cameron said that IS was “planning further plots in Europe and elsewhere in order to kill and maim innocent people.”
“This is a fight you cannot opt out of. These people want to kill us. They’ve got us in their sights, and we have to put together this coalition…to make sure that we ultimately destroy this evil organisation.”
Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, told BBC Radio 4’s Breakfast programme that he was “open to the possibility” of supporting airstrikes against IS in Iraq, but that he would have to study the proposition before deciding. He also said that his party would like to see a UN Security Council resolution supporting airstrikes before it backed a proposal on Britain’s participation.
British hostage’s wife appeals again
Meanwhile, suspense continues over the fate of Alan Henning, a former taxi driver-turned-aid worker from Britain held by IS militants, who have threatened to behead him in the same way as they did David Haines, also a British aid worker, who was captured in 2013.
In response to an audio file sent by the IS of Mr. Henning pleading for his life, his wife Barbara Henning on Wednesday released a second audio appeal to the IS for the release of her husband. In it she says that despite her reaching out to Mr. Henning’s captors, they have continued to ignore her. “He was working with Muslims to help the most vulnerable within Syria. Nothing has changed. He went to Syria to help his Muslim friends deliver much needed aid,” she says in her message.
Pleading with his captors to “open their hearts and minds to the facts surrounding Mr. Henning’s imprisonment and why they continue to threaten his life,” she said that she had received information her husband had been found innocent of being a spy by a Sharia Court.
“I implore Islamic State to abide by the decisions of their own justice system. Please release Alan,” she said.