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'At least 5 Britons' going to join Islamic State every week

There are at least five Britons travelling to Iraq and Syria to join Islamic State (IS) every week, the UK's most senior police officer has said, adding that this is the minimum and there could be many more.

An Islamic State fighter shows off the group's flag. Credit: Reuters

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the militants' activities in those countries were "not just the horrors of distant lands" and warned of the terrorist threat posed at home by returning fighters.

We know that over 500 British nationals travelled to join the conflict. Many have returned and many will wish to do so in the coming months and perhaps in future years.

We still have an average of five people joining them a week. Five a week doesn't sound much but when you realise there are 50 weeks in a year, 250 more would be 50% more than we think have gone already.

Those numbers are a minimum. Those are the ones that we believe have gone. There may be many more.

– Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Metropolitan Police Commissioner

US arms 'claimed by IS militants' after air drop

Video posted online shows grenades, which it is claimed were dropped by US forces.. Credit: YouTube

Islamic State (IS) fighters have claimed that munitions dropped by American planes have landed in the areas they control, rather then getting to the Kurdish fighters the US is trying to arm.

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports:

In a video posted online a masked man with a machine gun opens several boxes which hold a variety of shells and explosives. He says: "These are the bombs dropped by American forces to the Kurdish forces. Praise to God, now they are spoils for the Mujahideen."

The United States airdropped arms for the first time to help the defenders resist an assault by IS.

Video posted online shows shells, which it is claimed were dropped by US forces.. Credit: YouTube

The US military said it conducted six air strikes on Islamic State militants near Kobani on Sunday and Monday, one of which destroyed a stray bundle of supplies from an air drop in order to prevent them from falling into enemy hands.


Foreign Secretary welcomes new Syria sanctions

The Foreign Secretary has welcomed fresh EU sanctions against the Syrian regime, describing President Assad as the "cause of instability and conflict" in the country.

Philip Hammond and European counterparts agreed the measures at a meeting in Brussels today.

Another 18 individuals and entities, including some suspected of supplying the administration with oil, will be subjected to restrictions.

Philip Hammond welcomed the new round of sanctions. Credit: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Among those targeted by the sanctions is a "notorious" military commander who ordered nerve gas attacks that killed hundreds of civilians.

"Sanctions are a key part of our strategy for weakening the regime and limiting its ability to perpetrate more barbaric acts against the Syrian people," Mr Hammond said.

Smoke rises over Kobani after latest air strikes

Huge explosions were seen over the Syrian town of Kobani today as air strikes against Islamic State targets continued.

US-led air strikes have helped stop the advance of IS militants. Credit: Reuters
Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Kobani after an air strike. Credit: Reuters
The US air-dropped arms to help Kurdish fighters for the first time. Credit: Reuters

Britain and France join US-led air strikes in Iraq

Britain and France have taken part in a series of US-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, US Central Command has said.

The latest strikes were conducted near the cities of Fallujah and Bayji in conjunction with Iraqi ground forces, officials said.

Another six air strikes - not involving Britain or France - were carried out against the militants in the key border town of Kobani in Syria.


Tributes paid to 'compassionate' James Foley

Credit: Nicole Tung

Tributes have been paid to "compassionate" journalist James Foley who was murdered by self-style Islamic State group extremists.

Hundreds of people filled a church in Rochester, New Hampshire to celebrate the life of a man who "always tried to see the good in people" on what would have been his 41st birthday.

Afterwards, friends and family paid poignant tribute to Mr Foley.

"There seemed to be two absolutes in Jim's life - his faith and his family - both of which gave him an incredible foundation," said long-time friend Jeremy Osgood.

"It was a wealth of strength and courage for Jim in his time of need."

Mr Osgood became friends with Ms Foley while growing up in Wolfeboro, in New Hampshire's lakes region.

Mr Foley was a thoughtful student, a "smiling, wide-eyed boy" and good athlete who excelled in football, Mr Osgood said.

Mr Foley was also a student of human nature who had a knack for reading people and could blend into any group or situation.

"The wonderful thing about Jim is he used the ability to build up people and not tear them down," Mr Osgood said.

"Whether you knew him for 30 years or 30 minutes you would consider him a friend."

Mr Foley was abducted in Syria in November 2012 and had not been heard from since until a video showing his killing was posted on the Internet in August.

Members of the Islamic State militant group said they killed him and other foreigners because of US intervention in the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

Since his death, his family has created the James W Foley Legacy Fund to support reporters in conflict zones and the families of American hostages as well as promote a global conversation about how governments can handle hostage crises.

US airstrikes slow Isis advance in Kobani

The advancement of Islamic State militants against Kurdish forces in the border town of Kobani has been temporarily halted after the US intensified airstrikes on the border town.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed IS advances appeared to have slowed after two-days of US airstrikes, saying "we know that we have inflicted damage upon them.”

Thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria Credit: Yasin Akgul/Depo Photos

IS members 'being trained to fly captured warplanes'

Islamic State militants have been flying three captured fighter jets over Syria, a monitoring group has claimed.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Iraqi pilots who have joined the terrorist group in Syria are training members to fly the jets.

Witnesses said the planes have been flown over a captured military airport in the northern province of Aleppo, according to the monitoring organisation.

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