UK Troops May Need To Fight IS - Ex-Army Chief

Britain may need to send ground troops to fight in Iraq and Syria to eliminate the threat from Islamic State (IS), a former head of the army has said.

General Lord Dannatt told Sky News that Western leaders might have to "think the unthinkable" if the combination of local forces and international airstrikes proved insufficient.

The former chief of the general staff was speaking following the release of an IS video purporting to show the murder of US aid worker Peter Kassig .

Lord Dannatt, whose family knew Mr Kassig, said "more concerted action" was needed - and that the UK should think "very closely" about joining air strikes.

"Of course it means attacking ISIL (IS) from the air, it means attacking them from the air over Iraq and Syria - and our Government has got to think about that one very closely," he said.

"It also means we have got to build up local forces more quickly and more effectively on the ground, to get in there and to not just defend their own villages, towns and cities but to attack ISIL fighters where they are.

"If that is not enough then we might have to think the unthinkable and possibly engage Western forces on the ground.

"I don't see that happening in a great rush, there's no appetite for it, there's no political appetite for it.

"But we have got to keep all options open if we are serious about meeting that strategic objective of defeating and destroying Islamic State."

General Lord Dannatt admitted the forthcoming General Election would make it difficult for a UK Prime Minister to commit troops.

But he added: "The evidence is showing us that this is not going to go away and that more action is going to have to be taken.

"I don't want to see British troops involved. We have had 10, 12 years of exhaustive intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"But are we just going to wish this away or are we going to take action? That's what has got to be addressed in a national debate."

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