British Islamic State fighters killed by RAF drone strike in Syria, David Cameron reveals

Two British Islamic State fighters have been killed in an air strike carried out by the RAF in Syria, the first time the UK has used such a measure in a country it is not at war with.

Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, also known as Abdul Rakib Amin, were killed in the August 21 drone strike on a car in IS stronghold Raqqa, the Prime Minister told the Commons.

A third militant also died in the attack, which David Cameron said was targeting Khan, who he said was planning "specific and barbaric" terrorist attacks in the UK. Khan was from Cardiff and Amin was from Aberdeen.

Mr Cameron said the strike was "entirely lawful" and an act of self-defence. He added that there were no civilian casualties.

"If there is a direct threat to the British people and we are able to stop if by taking immediate action, then as Prime Minister I will always be prepared to take that action," Mr Cameron told MPs.

"We took this action because there was no alternative."

"It was necessary and proportionate for the individual self-defence of the United Kingdom."

Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader, questioned the Prime Minister's decision to authorise the strike and said there needed to be independent scrutiny of what the Government had done.

The Attorney General was consulted on and approved the strike, which was not part of ongoing coalition military action against IS in Syria, Mr Cameron said.

The Prime Minister said the strike was conducted according to specific military rules of engagement and that the UN security council was being informed about the incident.

Credit: PA

"My first duty as Prime Minister is to keep the British people safe," he said. "That is what I will always do.

"There was a terrorist directing murder on our streets and no other means to stop them.

"This Government does not for one moment take these decisions lightly.

"But I am not prepared to stand here in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on our streets and have to explain to the House why I did not take the chance to prevent it when I could have done."

Ms Harman urged publication of the legal advice justifying the decision, adding: "Why didn't the Attorney General authorise this specific action rather than merely 'confirming there was a legal basis for it'?"

David Cameron revealed details of the strike in Parliament on Monday. Credit: PA

She said there was a need for "independent scrutiny" of the attack and said David Anderson, the independent reviewer of counter terrorism policy, should review the events.

In response, Mr Cameron said: "There was no other way we could have met our objectives and all this was based on the Attorney General's advice. We don't publish the Attorney General's advice but I am very happy to discuss the content of that advice."

"This was a relatively unique set of circumstances, but that is not to say they won't happen again."

There has been some criticism of the unprecedented air strike by campaign groups.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said it was "extremely alarming" that the UK had carried out the attack.

"If we allow this to become the norm, we could have countries all over the world conducting aerial execution of perceived enemies on the basis of secret, unchallengeable evidence," she said.

Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, added: "That a British citizen was targeted and killed by these strikes - and another killed by mistake - is particularly alarming and sets a dangerous new precedent."

Mr Cameron said another British jihadi, Junaid Hussain, was killed in an American air strike in Raqqa on August 24