The UK will take “whatever steps are necessary” to keep safe after a video showing the killing of hostage David Haines was issued by Islamic State militants, the prime minister has said.
David Cameron said the UK would “hunt down” the killers of the aid worker, whom he called a “British hero”.
‘Despicable killing’ Speaking at Downing Street after a meeting of the UK emergency committee Cobra, Mr Cameron said of IS, also known as Isil and Isis, “they are not Muslims, they are monsters”.
IS has now threatened to kill another hostage, Alan Henning
“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.”
In the video, a masked man who appears to have a British accent was pictured beside Mr Haines holding a knife.
Mr Cameron said the country was “sickened” that a Briton could have carried out the “despicable” killing.
“We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe,” he said.
“Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy Isil and what it stands for.
“We will not do so on our own, but with working with our allies, not just in the United States and in Europe, but also in the region.”
He said the organisation posed a “massive threat” to the entire Middle East and said it would be defeated through a “comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy”.
He added: “This is not about British combat troops on the ground. It is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat.”
US officials later said several Arab countries had offered to take part in air strikes against IS militants in Iraq – subject to approval from the Iraqi government.
US Secretary of State John Kerry – speaking in Paris after a whirlwind tour of the Middle East trying to drum up support for action against IS – said he was “extremely encouraged” by such promises.
Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent
Strip away the ghoulish theatre of this latest beheading video from the so-called Islamic State and one thing emerges very clearly.
The jihadists of IS are angry and frustrated that their earlier blitzkrieg advance across Iraq has been stopped in its tracks, and even reversed in places, thanks to US air strikes and arms supplies rushed to the Kurds.
Incapable to date of shooting down America’s F/A18 jets, this is the group’s way of hitting back at a distant enemy through the medium of public information.
David Cameron, to whom much of the video is addressed, has had 3 choices: 1) back away from confronting IS, which he has ruled out, 2) continue as before, giving arms, ammunition and training to the Kurds to fight IS, and 3) step up the UK role, which now looks inevitable.
Mike Haines: “My first reaction could have been hatred… my brother’s life wasn’t about hatred”
He said: ” We agree with the government in that Isil are extremely dangerous and pose a threat to every nation, every religion, every politics, every person,” he said. “We need as a society to look and how we deal with this problem.”
Byron Pacula, of Mr Haines’s employers the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (Acted), said: “Acted is deeply appalled and horrified by the assassination of David Haines.
“We strongly condemn with the utmost of force those crimes that have happened against David.”
The charity said the killing raised questions about how it could continue its work.
US President Barack Obama was among the world leaders to react to the killing of Mr Haines.
He said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Mr Haines and to the people of the United Kingdom.”
Mr Obama said the US would work with the UK and a “broad coalition of nations” to “bring the perpetrators of this outrageous act to justice”.
Militants from IS have killed two US hostages in recent weeks, posting videos on the internet.
They had threatened to kill Mr Haines during a video posted online showing the killing of US journalist Steven Sotloff earlier this month. They also released a video of the killing of US journalist James Foley last month.
The extremist group is now in control of large parts of northern Iraq and Syria and Kurdish forces, known as the Peshmerga, have been involved in heavy fighting with the militants.
US air strikes have targeted IS militants in Iraq in recent weeks.
The UK has donated heavy machine guns and ammunition to authorities in Iraq to help fight IS militants.
(Via BBC News)