herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Warplanes on standby as UK votes for IS action

RAF warplanes are poised to launch air strikes against Islamic State (IS) jihadists after the British parliament gave the green light for military action.

At the end of a six-and-half hour Commons debate, MPs voted by 524 to 43 - a majority of 481 - to endorse attacks on the militants in Iraq in support of the United States-led coalition.

The vote clears the way for fighter bombers stationed in Cyprus to begin combat operations as soon as targets are identified.

Opening the debate, Prime Minister David Cameron (inset) told MPs that Britain had a "duty" to join the military campaign as IS posed a direct threat to the country.

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But despite the majority, there were concerns on all sides of the House that 11 years after the invasion of Iraq, Britain was again embarking on military action in the Middle East.

At the same time, there was criticism from both Conservative and Labour MPs that air strikes restricted to Iraq and that Syria was excluded.

Mr Cameron said the motion had been limited in order to secure cross-party consensus and avoid a repeat of last year's damaging Commons defeat when Labour combined with Tory and Liberal Democrat rebels to block air strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

hnews@herald.ie

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