Minister calls for 'almost every' British Islamic State fighter to be killed

Aubrey Allegretti, Political Reporter

The only way to deal with British Islamic State fighters is to kill them in almost every case, a minister has said.

Rory Stewart claimed it should be the sole response to people who had "essentially moved away from any kind of allegiance" to the UK to join the terror group.

He told Pienaar's Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live that there were "very difficult moral issues".

But the Foreign Office minister warned: "They are absolutely dedicated, as members of the Islamic State, towards the creation of a caliphate.

"They believe in an extremely hateful doctrine which involves killing themselves, killing others and trying to use violence and brutality to create an eighth century, or seventh century, state.

"I'm afraid we have to be serious about the fact these people are a serious danger to us, and unfortunately the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them."

A former diplomat, Mr Stewart went on to say: "These are people who are executing people in the back of their heads, who have held women and children hostage, who are torturing and murdering trying by violence to impose their will.

"Our response has to be, when somebody does that, I'm afraid, to deal with that."

Responding to Mr Stewart's comments, a Government spokesman said they are consistent with the position set out by Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon on October 12, when he told British IS fighters in Syria and Iraq: "You have made yourself a legitimate target and run the risk, every hour of every day, of being on the wrong end of an RAF or USAF missile".

The spokesman added: "Nobody should be in any doubt about our determination to fight and defeat Daesh terrorists, regardless of nationality.

"Anyone who does travel to Syria, for whatever reason, is putting themselves in considerable danger - particularly if they are fighting for our enemies."

Mr Stewart also urged Britons who wanted to join the fight against IS to do so through official channels.

"If you wish to serve your country and you wish to fight terrorism, then please apply to join the military or join the police or join our intelligence services, we'll train you, we'll work with you to do it in a legal and controlled fashion," he said.

MI5 believes at least 850 Britons have gone to fight for IS since 2014, with around half having returned home.

The most notable conscripts include former punk rocker Sally Jones, who worked as an IS recruiter, and "Jihadi John" - real name Mohammed Emwazi - who appeared in multiple videos showing the execution of foreign hostages.

Both died in drone strikes in Syria but hundreds more are expected to still be fighting for IS in the country.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes