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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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'We do not pay ransoms,' US State Department says

"We do not pay ransoms," the US State Department said after it emerged journalist James Foley's captors demanded a ransom of €100 million (£80 million) before his death.

"One of the main ways Isil has been funded throughout this conflict has been from ransom payments that others have paid," spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

US journalist James Foley pictured in May 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

"We believe that paying ransoms or making concessions would both put all Americans overseas at greater risk for kidnapping and in harms way, but that ransoms would also fund and finance exactly the groups we are trying to degrade their capabilities," she told reporters.

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