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New terror powers 'could endanger our liberties'

Politicians should not act as "cheerleaders" for the intelligence and security services, according to former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown.

Lord Ashdown has criticised new terror powers. Credit: PA

Writing in The Observer newspaper he said the Conservative Party had used the decision to raise the terror threat level "to tell us how frightened we should be and why this required a range of new powers for them to exercise".

He added that the new range of executive powers "could endanger our liberties."

He said: "Of course, in these circumstances, the police and the security services will lead the clamour for more powers. They are charged by us to maintain our safety."

He added: "But it is the job of politicians to act, not as cheerleaders for those demands, but as jealous protectors of our liberties who measure any demand for their reduction against necessity, supported by evidence."

Militants reinforce siege against UN peacekeepers

Islamist militants have reinforced the siege against 40 Filipino peacekeepers trapped in Syria's Golan Heights, according to diplomatic sources at the United Nations.

More than 20 vehicles carrying armed fighters were seen approaching the region which has been demilitarized and monitored by the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force since Israel and Syria signed an armistice in 1974.

Earlier, nearly three dozen peacekeepers who were trapped by militants in the Golan Heights were successfully extracted, according to UN officials.

More than 30 peacekeepers rescued in Golan Heights

Nearly three dozen United Nations peacekeepers who were trapped by militants in the Golan Heights have been successfully extracted, according to UN officials.

Officials in the Philippines have said all 72 of the trapped Filipino peacekeepers were safe.

Another 44 Fijian peacekeepers have been detained by militants nearby since Thursday.

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James Foley's brother: US needs to do more

The brother of murdered journalist James Foley has urged the US Government and its allies to do more to secure the safety of fellow American journalist and Islamic State hostage Steven Sotloff.

James Foley's brother Michael. Credit: ITV/Good Morning Britain

Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Michael Foley said, "I don't have all the answers but what I can say is that I urge the US Government, our partners and our allies to do everything they can and to treat this with the utmost sense of urgency because there [are] things that can be done."

"Certainly we don't have complete control over the situation, but I just want to make sure for Stephen's family and for others that we are doing everything possible."

James Foley and others 'waterboarded by Islamic State'

At least four hostages held in Syria by Islamic State militants, including US journalist James Foley, were waterboarded during their captivity, The Washington Post has reported.

James Foley is believed to have been beheaded by the Islamic State. Credit: Nicole Tung

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the treatment of Western hostages, said the Islamic State captors appeared to model the technique used by the CIA on three terrorism suspects captured after the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center.

A source close to the family of a hostage held by Islamic State acknowledged to Reuters that hostages had been waterboarded, but gave no further details.

Waterboarding, a process characterised by Barack Obama and many other US politicians as torture, simulates drowning. Captives have water poured over their noses and mouths until they feel as if they are suffocating.

Three Americans and fewer than 10 other western hostages are still being held by the militant group, according to people familiar with the situation.

Islamic State releases video of 'killing of Syrian troops'

More than 150 Syrian soldiers were stripped and marched into the desert to be shot by Islamic State militants, activists have claimed.

The video shows the men being marched through the desert, barefoot and in their underwear Credit: YouTube

A video has been posted to YouTube purporting to show the men, who are barefoot and in their underwear, being escorted into the desert.

It then goes black before revealing a similar number of men, also in their underwear, lying dead in the sand.

The video goes on to show what appears to be the men dead in the sand Credit: YouTube

The video has yet to be verified but correspond to other reports from the region, and tie up with a statement and claims made via Twitter relating to the mass killing of troops captured in recent fighting for a string of military bases in north-eastern Syria.

There has been no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

UN 'making every effort' to release 43 peacekeepers

The UN is "making every effort to secure the release" of 43 peacekeepers detained by an armed group near Al Quneitra in the Golan Heights.

A further 81 peacekeepers are "currently being restricted to their positions" near Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah, the UN said.

An armoured vehicle carrying UNDOF peacekeepers near the Quneitra border crossing Credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

The nationalities of the peacekeepers, who were serving with the UN Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDOF), is not clear. As of 31st July, there were peacekeepers from Ireland, the Netherlands, Fiji, Nepal, India and the Philippines serving in the force.

Smoke rises from the Quneitra border crossing in Golan Heights after it came under attack on Wednesday Credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Syrian jets shelled rebel positions near the Quneitra border crossing between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and fighting in the area is ongoing.

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