British members of Islamic State killed in drone attack
David Cameron confirms Britain will resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over next 4½ years
British prime minister David Cameron: “. . . The air strike was the only feasible means of effectively disrupting the attacks planned and directed by this individual.” Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Two British citizens fighting for Islamic State (IS) were killed in a RAF drone attack last month, British prime minister David Cameron revealed on Monday, as Britain confirmed it would resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 4½ years.
Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said that Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan (21) had been targeted in the attack, just outside the IS stronghold of Raqqa, on August 21st. Khan had been planning to carry out attacks in the UK, Mr Cameron said, while a second British national, Ruhul Amin, was killed in the strike .
“In the prevailing circumstances in Syria, the air strike was the only feasible means of effectively disrupting the attacks planned and directed by this individual,” Mr Cameron said.
A proposal to intervene militarily in Syria was rejected in a Commons vote just over two years ago, though Britain has been involved in coalition strikes against IS in Iraq since last September.
British MPs will hold an emergency debate today after Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper said the government’s plan to resettle 20,000 Syrians was insufficient to address the migration crisis.
Mr Cameron confirmed that Britain will accept 20,000 people who are currently mainly in camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, but Ms Cooper said Britain should also participate in the EU relocation plan expected to be unveiled tomorrow.
The British government’s proposal would focus on children, and orphans in particular, in areas near the Syrian border. By bypassing the EU system, Mr Cameron said, refugees would have a safer route to Britain. “This provides refugees with a more direct and safe route to the UK, rather than risking the hazardous journey to Europe which has tragically cost so many lives.”