World Bulletin/News Desk
British lawmakers will vote on Friday whether to join U.S.-led airstrikes against ISIL militants in Iraq after Baghdad requested help, the British government said on Wednesday.
"I have requested that Parliament be recalled to debate the UK response to the Iraqi government's request for support against ISIL (IS)," British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter.
Baghdad had asked for British air strikes to support its operations against the fighters, a spokesman for Cameron said.
The U.S. has been leading the airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and has in the last few days extended its attacks to positions in Syria.
Cameron told the BBC that British involvement in the air strikes in Iraq was legal and the right thing to do, and he was confident parliament would support it.
"As ever with our country, when we are threatened in this way, we should not turn away from what needs to be done."
He stressed there would be no troops on the ground, and that there would have to be a separate parliamentary vote if there was any question of taking action in Syria.
Cameron had been due to meet Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later on Wednesday.
Cameron's Liberal Democrat coalition partners will vote in favour of air strikes in Iraq because the request was made by the Iraqi government, the party's leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said.
"I think the vast majority of people in this country accept that there are times, not on our own, but working in concert with other countries, when we do our bit to keep the world safe, to keep ourselves safe," Clegg told British broadcasters. "And I think this is one of those instances."
He said British combat forces would not be deployed on the ground but London would continue supporting local forces.
The British government lost a parliamentary vote last year to approve air strikes against Syrian government targets to punish Damascus for its alleged use of chemical weapons. Cameron has tried to make sure that he has cross-party agreement on any strikes against IS.
Labour leader Ed Miliband suggested on Wednesday that his left-leaning party would be likely to back Cameron on Iraq.
"ISIL is a threat that can't be ignored. We've got to assemble not just a military coalition but a political and diplomatic one," he told BBC radio.
"If a proposition comes forward for military action by the United Kingdom, we're open to it and we'll look at it."
The Labour party is sceptical about conducting air strikes in Syria.Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2014, 22:04