Live updates

Advertisement

US led forces in 16 air strikes targeting Islamic State

American-led forces targeted Islamic State militants in Iraq with 16 air strikes from Friday morning through Saturday morning and conducted another six strikes against the group in Syria, the US military said.

A Reaper aircraft often used in airstrikes. Credit: Reuters

The strikes in Iraq were spread throughout the country,hitting targets near Baghdad, Bayji, Fallujah, Hit, Kirkuk, Mosul, Ramadi, Sinjar and Tal Afar, according to a military statement.

Those in Syria were concentrated near Al Hasakah, with four strikes hitting Islamic State tactical units and destroying fighting positions and artillery. The coalition forces also conducted air strikes near Dayr Az Zawr and Kobani.

  1. Rohit Kachroo

British schoolgirls in Syria make contact with families

Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase have been missing since February. Credit: Met Police

Three schoolgirls from East London who fled to Syria are believed to have made contact with their families - more than three months after they vanished.

ITV News can reveal that one of the girls called relatives in the UK to say she is healthy, safe and well - but indicated that she and the other teenagers have no intention of returning home soon.

The other two girls made contact over the internet. Their families believe the messages are genuine.

Shamima Begum, Kadiza Sultana, and Amira Abase slipped away during the February half term. They are thought to be living in Raqqa where they have joined Islamic State.

Advertisement

UK must 'consider' ground troops in battle against IS

Lord Dannatt said the UK must consider sending ground troops into Syria and Iraq. Credit: David Parker/Daily Mail / PA Archive/PA Images

Former Head of the British Army, Lord Dannatt, has called on the Government to "think the previously unthinkable" and consider sending ground troops to combat Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Dannatt said he felt air strikes had "failed" to stop the advance of the extremist organisation.

He called for a "public and political debate to begin immediately" on the issue of deploying up to 5,000 infantry soldiers.

In light of this terrifying scenario, how much longer can Britain and the US continue to show such a lack of commitment to defeating IS mililtarily? Their default option of air strikes and limited assistance to indigenous forces has failed thus far.

We have now reached a point when we must think the previously unthinkable and consider that British troops, acting as part of an international coalition, may be required to mount a ground campaign in Iraq and Syria.

I am no gung-ho general who says 'just send the boys in and don't worry about the body bags', far from it, but faced with such a lethal and uncompromising enemy as IS - and with the lack of political and diplomatic solutions at our disposal - we can no longer rule out 'boots on the ground'.

– Lord Dannatt

IS has recently made gains in the Middle East by gaining control of the ancient town of Palmyra, in Syria, and the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

Load more updates