In a strongly-worded response after an emergency meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday vowed to ‘extinguish’ the Islamic State (IS) by taking ‘whatever steps necessary’ after a new video depicted the beheading of British aid worker David Haines.
An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group purportedly shows British aid worker David Haines dressed in orange and on his knees in a desert landscape speaking to the camera before being beheaded by a masked militant. (AFP Photo/ SITE Intelligence)
“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes,” he said, and added that “they are not Muslims, they are monsters” as he spelt out the measures Britain will take to counter the threat.
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Haines, 44, was kidnapped in Syria in March 2013. The video showed him being beheaded by the same man with a British accent who had appeared in previous videos showing the beheading of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley.
Speaking after chairing an emergency meeting, Cameron said: “We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe. Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy Isil and what it stands for”.
Alan Henning, another British hostage, is currently being held by the militant group.
US president Barack Obama led a host of international leaders in condemning the latest beheading: “The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of UK citizen David Haines…The United States stands shoulder to shoulder tonight with our close friend and ally in grief and resolve”.
Calling Haines a ‘British hero’, Cameron said Britain will calmly work with allies to counter the challenge in the Middle East: “It must strengthen our resolve. We must recognise that it will take time to eradicate a threat like this. It will require, as I have described, action at home and abroad”.
He added: “This is not something we can do on our own. We have to work with the rest of the world. Ultimately, our security as a nation, the way we go about our everyday lives in this free and tolerant society that is Britain, has always depended on our readiness to act against those who stand for hatred and who stand for destruction.”
Britain, he said, will upscale efforts to weed out such elements in the country through a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. It will also pursue action at the United Nations and help Kurds and other forces in the region opposed to the IS.
Mike Haines, brother of David Haines, said in a statement: “David was most alive and enthusiastic in his humanitarian roles. His joy and anticipation for the work he went to do in Syria is for myself and family the most important element of this whole sad affair.”