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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Beheading video 'appalling example of IS brutality'

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has described a video showing the apparent beheading of a US journalist by an Islamic State fighter as "an appalling example of the brutality of this organisation".

Mr Hammond said the video's "hallmarks point to it being genuine", and acknowledged that the fighter who killed James Foley appeared to have a British accent.

Philip Hammond said the video appeared to be genuine. Credit: PA Wire

"Certainly at first pass that's what it looks like and we will obviously want to investigate that further," Mr Hammond told the BBC.

"We have been saying for a long time that there are a significant number of British nationals in Syria and Iraq operating with extremist organisations.

"That's one of the reasons why this organisation represents such a direct threat to the UK's national security.

"Many of these people may seek at some point to return to the UK and they would then pose a direct threat to our domestic security."

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