LONDON, United Kingdom – The British government has confirmed it will continue its new policy of killing its own citizens who are fighting for the Islamic State (IS). Speaking on BBC Radio4 the Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said he “wouldn't hesitate” to order the killing of British Jihadis who threatened the UK.
There are estimated to be as many as 1500 British nationals fighting for IS, and up until recently the country had wanted them back to stand trial. However, on Monday the Prime Minister announced he had ordered the killing of Reyaad Khan a 21-year-old Jihadi from Cardiff, Wales.
David Cameron claimed the attack on 21st August was an act of “self-defense” because Khan was planning a terrorists attack on the UK. Whilst Cameron refused to be drawn on the precise details of the plot he did say Khan was planning "barbaric" attacks on "high-profile public commemorations" in Britain. During the attack on Khan a second British Jahadi was also killed, although he was not not the principal target.
Mr Fallon said there had been "no other way" of stopping Khan from attacking the UK and the government “wouldn't hesitate to take similar action again”. He also refused to deny there was a “kill list” of British nationals who pose a threat to the country.
The Defense Secretary went on to say it was “absurd” the RAF had only been allowed to attack terrorists in Iraq not Syria. He claimed it was vital to kill those who threatened the UK wherever they were based. “There are other terrorists involved in other plots that may come to fruition over the next few weeks and months and we wouldn't hesitate to take similar action again,” he said.
“There are a number of terrorists out there in Syria, based in and around Raqqa, Isil's headquarters, who are actively involve in planning attacks on our streets, who are planing attacks on the streets of Australia and on the streets of the United States.”
Security sources told the Daily Mail a list of potential targets had been drawn up at a meeting of the National Security Council earlier this year. The government's most senior lawyer had been asked to confirm the legality of using air strikes to kill them.
Number one on the list of targets is Jihadi John, the British terrorist who has appeared on a number of blood-curdling IS propaganda video. In each one he used a small knife to behead a Westerner, including the British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines. Despite covering his face Jahadi John has now been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, who grew up in a taxpayer funded home in West London.
The policy of killing those who pose a threat to the UK even if they are British received support from a surprising quarter. Ahmed Muthana, who has two sons fighting for IS, said David Cameron was “right” to order the killing of those who threatened the UK.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the 57-year-old said: “Of course I am worried that my boys are now on a Government hit list. I am worried that this will be their fate. But if what the Government says is true [about planned terrorist attacks] then it was right what they did.”
Muthana disowned his sons after they volunteered to fight for IS, at the time he claimed their actions had left him “no choice”. He said he had offered his condolences to the father of Reyaad Khan, who he knows because they attend the same mosque in Cardiff.
The policy of killing British Jihadis has proved popular in the UK, although some on the left have voiced concerns about the lack of oversight. The government has responded by reconstituting the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee, which had not been in operation since May's General Election.