Iraqi forces reach jihadist-besieged town of Amerli

Iraqi forces have broken through the Islamic State-besieged town of Amerli where thousands of people were trapped for over two months, according to news agency AFP.

Security spokesman Lieutenant General Qassem Atta told AFP: "Our forces entered Amerli and broke the siege".

RAF transport planes took part in a humanitarian air drop to the town last night, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.

US aircraft also launched airstrikes against IS fighters near the besieged town.

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Iraqi forces end Islamic State siege of Amerli

The Islamic State's two-month siege around the Iraqi town of Amerli has been broken, freeing around 15,000 locals who it was feared were facing a possible massacre.

UK aid drops and US air strikes played a part in the rescue, but Defence Secretary Michael Fallon insisted that was as far as Britain's involvement in the crisis will go.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports.

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RAF planes take part in besieged Iraqi town air drop

RAF transport planes have taken part in a humanitarian air drop to the Iraqi town of Amirli, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said.

The RAF dropped 14 tonnes of food and water for a Shia population there.

A file picture of RAF C-130J Hercules. Credit: An RAF C-130J (Hercules)

The Hercules aircraft helped an international effort to resupply the town which has been under siege by Islamic State (IS) militants for nearly two months.

"We have been putting in humanitarian aid, I can confirm that last night I authorised two Hercules to participate in the big aid drop on Amirli, a town that's been under siege for nearly two months," Mr Fallon told Sky News.

US airstrikes back up humanitarian drops in Iraq

The Pentagon's Press Secretary has tweeted that US aircraft have been conducting airstrikes to support humanitarian air drops in the Iraqi town of Amerli.

The town north of Baghdad has been besieged by Islamic State fighters in recent weeks.

John Kerry: Airstrikes alone won’t defeat IS militants

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the insurgency by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq and Syria demands a "much fuller response" than just airstrikes.

Writing in the New York Times, he said:

Airstrikes alone won’t defeat this enemy. A much fuller response is demanded from the world. We need to support Iraqi forces and the moderate Syrian opposition, who are facing ISIS on the front lines ... In this battle, there is a role for almost every country. Some will provide military assistance, direct and indirect. Some will provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance for the millions who have been displaced and victimized across the region. Others will help restore not just shattered economies but broken trust among neighbors.

– john kerry, us secretary of state

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Britain 'not asked by US to join strikes on Islamic State'

Britain has not been requested to join strikes against the Islamic State, Downing Street has insisted.

The wreckage of a car belonging to Islamic State militants in northern Iraq. Credit: Reuters

The Times reported that the Pentagon had been exploring whether western allies such as Britain and Australia, and allied Gulf states, would assist in a broader campaign in Syria against the radical group.

The United States has launched scores of bombing attacks on Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Iraq in a bid to assist Kurdish and Iraqi forces in their fightback.

But a No 10 spokeswoman said: "There's been no request for us to deliver air strikes and this is not something under discussion at the moment.

"Our focus remains on supporting the Iraq government and Kurdish forces so that they can counter the threat posed by Isil, for example with the visit of our security envoy to Iraq this week and the provision of supplies to Kurdish forces."

UK jihadi: I would be honoured to behead someone

Two British jihadis have given a video interview in reaction to the filmed beheading of US journalist James Foley, telling CNN that the killing was a "justified response to the crimes of the US against the Islamic State".

Speaking from behind a mask, one of the men - who appeared to speak with a northern English accent - said that he would be "more than honoured" to take part in such an execution, adding "I hope that God gives me such a chance to do such a thing as the brother did with James Foley."

To watch the interview in full visit the CNN website

'Increase terror funding and strip UK jihadis of passports'

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the country's most senior police officer, has urged the Government to increase funding to help the Metropolitan Police catch terrorists and also suggested stripping would-be jihadis of their passports.

Of the estimated 500 or 600 British aspiring terrorists thought to have travelled to Syria, around two-thirds or three quarters are thought to be from London.

Would-be jihadis who go to fight abroad should be stripped of their British passports, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said. Credit: PA

"I think we're going to have to look at the resourcing of it, within the Met or across the country," he told LBC. "I know the Australians have just invested an awful lot of money in the same problem in their security services."

"This is a matter for Government, but I think we are going to have to look at it," he added.

He also said that British jihadis who travel abroad to fight for Islamic State should forfeit their passports.

"It seems to me it's a privilege to have a passport and be a citizen of this country," he said. "And if you're going to start fighting in another country on behalf of another state, or against another state, it seems to me that you've made a choice about where you what to be."

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