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David Cameron announces Parliament recall over airstrikes as hostage beheaded

By Staff Reporter

David Cameron announced the recall of Parliament yesterday to seek approval for airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) as a terror organisation linked to the group beheaded a French hostage in Algeria.

MPs will return to Westminster tomorrow for a vote which could clear the way for RAF planes to join the US, France and a number of Arab states in attacks on IS-held parts of Iraq.

The Prime Minister, who is desperate to avoid a repeat of last year's Commons defeat over Syrian airstrikes, said he was confident of MPs' support.

"What we are doing is legal, it is right, it does not involve troops on the ground," he added.

Mr Cameron, who yesterday held the first talks with the Iranian government since the country's Islamic revolution in 1979, made it clear he was responding to a request from the Iraqi government. He also insisted the attacks would be limited to Iraq and would not extend to Syria unless that was backed in a future Commons vote.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said his party would back the Government's motion. He added: "I think most people across the country want us to play our part in ridding the world of this vile threat."

Labour's Ed Miliband said the Prime Minister could also count on his party's backing. "We cannot turn away from the threat," he added. "That is why we will be supporting (the motion)."

But his words came as a group linked to IS released a video announcing the beheading of a French citizen, Herve Gourdel, held hostage in Libya.

Jund al-Khilafah abducted Mr Gourdel on Sunday and warned he would be killed within 24 hours if France did not end its airstrikes against IS. The 55-year-old mountaineer was seized in the mountains of northern Algeria and is the fourth western hostage to be killed.

His death, which has been confirmed by the French government, came as US President Barack Obama told a special meeting of the UN the world had to come together to break IS's "network of death".

Speaking to the General Assembly, Mr Obama said IS understood only "the language of force", and he called on those who have joined the group – believed to include several hundred Britons – to "leave the battlefield while they can".

"No God condones this terror," he added. "No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning with this evil."

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