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Saturday 20th September 2014
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PM: Britain Will Never Give In To Terrorism

Wednesday, 3rd September 2014 09:31

David Cameron has condemned the "sickening and brutal" murder of US journalist Steven Sotloff by a man he said appears to be British.

The PM told the Commons the ordeal of a British hostage understood to be held by the same group of Islamic State (IS) militants was "unimaginable".

In a video showing the purported murder of Mr Sotloff, the killer showed the hostage, described as British.

Mr Cameron said: "This country will never give in to terrorism. Our opposition to ISIL (Islamic State) will continue at home and abroad.

"It makes no distinction between cultures, countries and religions. There is no way to appease it; the only way to defeat it is to stand firm and to send a very straightforward message.

"A country like ours will not be cowed by these barbaric killers. If they think we will weaken in the face of their threats, they are wrong; it will have the opposite effect."

He added: "(The killing) again appears to have been carried out by a British citizen", referring to the man also seen in the beheading video of US journalist James Foley.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was among Cabinet members at a Cobra meeting this morning on how to save the Briton - who is not being named by UK news organisations.

"Every possible option" was being considered, he said, adding that the killing of Mr Sotloff would not change the overall strategy on Iraq.

British forces are currently helping with reconnaissance and aid missions in the country, as well as arming Kurdish forces.

The US has launched airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Mr Hammond said the UK could still follow suit.

"If we judge that airstrikes could be beneficial, could be the best way to do that, then we will certainly consider them but we have made no decision to do so at the moment."

The Government has known about the British hostage for some time but Sky's Anushka Astahna said it was worried publicity could have added a "premium" to the hostage's life.

David Cameron told MPs paying a ransom was out of the question. He said other countries must also stay "good to their word" and refuse to pay to free hostages.

It is estimated that IS has made tens of millions of dollars from such demands.

Mr Cameron was also grilled on new measures to seize passports when IS fighters return to the UK - and possibly to bar them altogether.

The Prime Minister said the public were in favour but said there was a "gap" in the law that would need addressing.

Labour leader Ed Miliband also told the Commons he supported proposals to relocate terror suspects within the UK.

The parties are discussing exclusion zones and powers to move people hours from their homes.

However, the Liberal Democrats have said they are not "definitively" behind the plans.

The latest IS video comes a day before leaders, including US President Barack Obama, meet for a Nato summit in Newport.

During a visit to Estonia, President Obama said his country "will not be intimidated" by IS and promised "our reach is long and justice will be served".