Islamic terrorists plotting to attack UK, warns Prime Minister David Cameron
The Islamic State terror group is planning attacks in Europe and the USA and has been plotting to target the UK, David Cameron has claimed, warning: "These people want to kill us - they've got us in their sights."
The Prime Minister was speaking after a wave of US air strikes in Syria and Iraq, which the Pentagon said were in part prompted by fears that jihadists were preparing to mount terror attacks on Western targets.
Speaking during a visit to New York, Mr Cameron said there was a "very clear" threat to the UK and other Western states, and linked IS – also known as Isis or Isil – with the murders of four people by a gunman at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May.
"There's no doubt in my mind it has already undertaken and is planning further plots in Europe and elsewhere, specifically in Belgium, in Brussels. It was an Isis plot that went into a Jewish museum and killed entirely innocent people," the Prime Minister told NBC.
"And there are other plots they have been attempting, including in my own country, in order to kill and maim innocent people. And the same applies to the United States of America.
"So this is a fight you cannot opt out of. These people want to kill us. They've got us in their sights and we have to put together this coalition, working with radical support... to make sure that we ultimately destroy this evil organisation."
The Prime Minister is using the two day United Nations General Assembly to help rally support for international action and to discuss the UK's contribution to the coalition. He is due to hold talks with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani – the first meeting between a British prime minister and Iranian president since the revolution of 1979 – in an attempt to enlist Tehran's support.
Mr Cameron gave his backing to Monday night's air strikes, which were ordered by President Barack Obama after intelligence reports indicated that an attack by a shadowy al Qaida-linked group known as the Khorasan Group was "imminent".
Lieutenant General William Mayville, the Pentagon's director of operations, said Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from US warships in the region were used to hit the group's compounds, workshops and training grounds around the city of Aleppo.
"Intelligence reports indicated that the Khorasan Group was in the final stages of plans to execute attacks against Western targets and potentially the US homeland," he said. The missile strikes were followed by attacks by US warplanes and drones – backed by Arab allies – to hit Islamic State.
Following the raids – the first carried out by the US against IS on Syrian territory – Mr Obama has vowed "to do what's necessary" to deal with the group.
He said the backing of five Arab states – Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates – underlined the support he was building for international action to defeat IS.
"The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America's fight alone," he said in a statement on the White House lawn.
"The overall effort will take time, there will be challenges ahead, but we are going to do what's necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group for the security of the country and the region and for the entire world."
The Prime Minister is expected to use a speech to the UN today to set out further details of Britain's contribution to tackling Islamic State. There is growing speculation that he will announce that UK forces will join the air strikes.
Mr Cameron made clear that he would want to consult the House of Commons, if possible, before engaging British forces, raising the prospect of a possible recall of Parliament after his return from the US on Thursday.
He will be keen to avoid a repeat of last year's Commons defeat when he lost a vote on air strikes against Syrian forces over the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against the rebels.