Britain joins fight against Islamic State group

(AP) -- Britain, Belgium and Denmark on Friday joined the U.S.-led coalition of nations that are launching airstrikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq, committing warplanes to the struggle against the

News 12 Staff

Sep 27, 2014, 6:03 AM

Updated 3,550 days ago

Share:

(AP) -- Britain, Belgium and Denmark on Friday joined the U.S.-led coalition of nations that are launching airstrikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq, committing warplanes to the struggle against the extremists.
The European lawmakers flatly described the moves as critical to security on home soil, arguing that facing down terrorists has become a matter of urgency. British Prime Minister David Cameron made a passionate plea for action in drastic terms -- noting that the militants had beheaded their victims, gouged out eyes and carried out crucifixions to promote goals "from the Dark Ages."
"This is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us and we do have to realize that, whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us," he said. "There isn't a 'walk on by' option. There isn't an option of just hoping this will go away."
Cameron told a tense House of Commons during more than six hours of debate that the hallmarks of the campaign would be "patience and persistence, not shock and awe" -- a reference to the phrase associated with the invasion of Iraq.
That unpopular intervention has cast a shadow over the discussions because critics fear that Europe will be drawn into a wider conflict, specifically taking on the Islamic group's fighters in Syria.
British lawmakers voted 524-43 for action after being urgently recalled from a recess. Belgian lawmakers also overwhelmingly approved, voting 114-2 to take part, despite widespread concerns that more terrorism may follow in their homeland as a result.
The White House said in a statement that it welcomed the countries to the coalition.
"These decisions -- along with those by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar to participate in airstrikes against ISIL in Syria -- demonstrate the clear commitment of the international community to take action together against these terrorists," the statement reads.
In May, Belgium was shaken when a gunman opened fire at a Jewish museum in Brussels, killing four people. The suspect, French citizen Mehdi Nemouche, has been identified as a returning Islamic fighter from Syria, and leaders in Belgium and other European countries have expressed their fears that other returnees from Syria and Iraq may cause further havoc.
"We must fight against torture, against decapitations, so it's time to act," said Belgian lawmaker Veli Yuksel, a Flemish Christian Democrat
Denmark pledged seven F-16 fighter jets. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said her government would send four operational planes and three reserve jets along with 250 pilots and support staff for 12 months. Lawmakers in Denmark must also approve, but that is considered a formality.
"No one should be ducking in this case" she said. "Everyone should contribute."
Britain is expected to deploy Tornado GR4 aircraft, a handful of which are in Cyprus, within striking distance of northern Iraq.
The Tornados give the coalition an enhanced ability to hit moving targets with the use of the Dual Mode Brimstone missile, said Ben Goodlad from IHS Jane's. He said the weapons have a particular ability to hit convoys and fleeing targets.
The British resolution does not address any action in Syria, though many lawmakers tried to push the government to admit that this is the likely next step.
Cameron has justified action in Iraq as lawful because the Iraqi leadership has asked for help.
No European nation has yet agreed to join the U.S. and some Arab states in strikes in Syria.
The motion before Britain's Parliament set no time limit, and that caused unease. Many lawmakers suggested the fight could stretch for years.
"ISIL is a death cult, it's a gang of terrorist murderers. It's not an army and it's certainly not an army that's going to be destroyed by aerial bombardment," said legislator George Galloway, using a former name for the radicals.
Cameron ensured his success by keeping the motion narrowly tailored -- staving off the defeat suffered a year ago when Parliament shot down the idea of intervening in Syria to thwart Assad's use of chemical weapons.
Defense Secretary Michael Fallon later indicated that the government might later ask Parliament for support for Syrian airstrikes.
"ISIL is based in Syria, that's where its headquarters are, that's where its resources, its people are. To deal with ISIL you do have to deal and defeat them in both Iraq and in Syria," he told BBC. "We are taking this in a calm, measured way, step-by-step, but it is clear to us that obviously ISIL, in the end, has to be tackled on a broader front."
____
Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels contributed.


More from News 12
1:20
Rapper Ja Rule performs at Mitchel Field as part of Nassau County’s Juneteenth celebration

Rapper Ja Rule performs at Mitchel Field as part of Nassau County’s Juneteenth celebration

1:26
Pleasant weekend on Long Island ahead of expected heat wave

Pleasant weekend on Long Island ahead of expected heat wave

0:42
Hundreds participate in 45th annual Shelter Island 10K & 5K Run/Walk

Hundreds participate in 45th annual Shelter Island 10K & 5K Run/Walk

0:31
Suffolk police: Motorcyclist seriously hurt in Bay Shore crash

Suffolk police: Motorcyclist seriously hurt in Bay Shore crash

1:46
‘We lost a brother.’ Friends, loved ones remember ‘Rookie of the Year’ firefighter at Hagerman FD

‘We lost a brother.’ Friends, loved ones remember ‘Rookie of the Year’ firefighter at Hagerman FD

1:34
Early voting begins on Long Island for Democratic primary elections

Early voting begins on Long Island for Democratic primary elections

All lanes clear on Southern State parkway following overturned vehicle crash

All lanes clear on Southern State parkway following overturned vehicle crash

Is your dad awesome? Long Island tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? Long Island tell us why your dad rocks!

0:27
Police: Owner of Huntington restaurant, 2 security guards arrested during State Liquor Authority compliance check

Police: Owner of Huntington restaurant, 2 security guards arrested during State Liquor Authority compliance check

2:07
New beach rules limiting access take effect after shooting in Long Beach

New beach rules limiting access take effect after shooting in Long Beach

2:04
Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

Kevin Jonas undergoes surgery to remove common skin cancer; urges fans to get checked

2:15
Police: Woman arrested for motorcyclist hit-and-run in Patchogue

Police: Woman arrested for motorcyclist hit-and-run in Patchogue

2:15
Oakdale residents call for Islip officials to hold owners of former Dowling College more accountable

Oakdale residents call for Islip officials to hold owners of former Dowling College more accountable

2:07
Study: Food insecurity becomes growing problem for Long Islanders

Study: Food insecurity becomes growing problem for Long Islanders

0:41
Mastic Beach street renamed for teen who was killed 3 years ago

Mastic Beach street renamed for teen who was killed 3 years ago

1:49
Baldwin residents & businesses call on Liberty to reimburse them after water main break

Baldwin residents & businesses call on Liberty to reimburse them after water main break

0:27
Police: Man accused of exposing himself outside Westbury church

Police: Man accused of exposing himself outside Westbury church

2:37
Police: 16-year-old shot in Long Beach following chaotic night with massive crowds

Police: 16-year-old shot in Long Beach following chaotic night with massive crowds

2:08
69th annual Strawberry Festival in Mattituck underway

69th annual Strawberry Festival in Mattituck underway

1:59
Food Truck Friday: No Good Burger

Food Truck Friday: No Good Burger