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7 Sep, 2014 12:05

60% of Britons in favor of military action against Islamic State

60% of Britons in favor of military action against Islamic State

Almost two thirds of Britons would support military action against the Islamic State in Iraq, according to a poll. The survey also showed the public want tougher laws for terror suspects at home and to prevent British jihadists from returning to the UK.

The poll, conducted by Opinium Research and published in The Telegraph newspaper, showed that 60 percent of those surveyed were in favor of the government taking some sort of military action to try and quell the rise of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). Only 20 percent of those asked objected to the UK getting involved in the crisis in the Middle East.

The survey was taken to get the public’s reaction in the wake of the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff. The attack was believed to have been carried out by a British national, who goes by the name of ‘Jihad John’, also believed to be responsible for the beheading of another American citizen, James Foley.

Following the video’s publication, Cameron told MPs in the House of Commons that Britain will “never give into terrorism.”

“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,” he said, adding: “We will be more forthright in the defense of the values - liberty under the rule of law, freedom, democracy - that we hold dear, and I'm sure a united message to that effect will go forward from this House today.”

Reuters / Osama Al-dulaimi

The Islamic State has warned that a British national could be next to suffer beheading, saying David Haines, an aid worker, would be their next victim.

Washington has already carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq to help Kurdish and Iraqi government forces battle IS insurgents. At the recent NATO summit in Cardiff, the US asked Britain to join an American-led military campaign against the group formerly known as ISIS. However the White House warned that it could take up to three years to win the battle against the Islamic State, the Telegraph added.

Prime Minister David Cameron says he will not rule out using the UK’s Royal Air Force to bomb targets inside Iraq, while the government would also consider ordering SAS special forces to conduct rescue missions to free hostages.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said if the UK did not "act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain."

Former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said his "instinct" was for the UK to join US airstrikes in Iraq. "We should learn from the past, but not be paralyzed by it," Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today Program, referring to the previous conflict in Iraq.

Home Secretary Theresa May called the Islamic State a "group of murderous psychopaths." She also said the government would continue to take steps to adopt powers that would protect national security.

The government is also preparing a motion to introduce tougher anti-terrorism laws in the UK. These are designed to protect the country against British Islamic fighters currently in Syria and Iraq, who may wish to return home.

AFP Photo / Vernon Young Jr.

Some 85 percent would support tougher laws to limit terror suspects’ movements inside the UK, with 82 percent saying they were in favor of banning British jihadists, who have fought with the Islamic State, from re-entering the country.

While the British prime minister had trouble in getting support for military action in Syria to try and topple President Bashar Assad, it seems that Cameron is having no such problems in garnering support for a campaign against IS militants.

Mike Gapes, the Labour MP for Ilford South and former chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said Cameron’s “defeat and mishandling of the Syria debate” in August 2013 should not keep him from acting now. “He should get over it and urgently recall parliament,” Gapes wrote in an article for the New Statesman in August.

In August 2013, David Cameron tried to sign Britain up to potential military strikes against Syria, but he lost a parliamentary vote.

The poll surveyed 2,002 adults online between 3-5 September throughout the UK.