Cameron says ready to bomb militants in Libya and Syria if plot threat seen
JAKARTA/LONDON – Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday he was ready to order air strikes on Islamist militant targets in Libya and Syria to prevent attacks on the streets of Britain as he stepped up his rhetoric against Islamic State insurgents.
He was speaking to reporters as he landed in Indonesia on the first leg of a four-day trade mission he hopes to use to forge new political alliances to counter a threat he has described as a “death cult”.
“If there is a threat to Britain or to our people on our streets … we are able to stop it by taking immediate action against that threat,” said Cameron.
“As prime minister, I would always want to try and take that action, and that’s the case whether that problem is emanating from Libya or Syria or anywhere else.”
Britain raised its domestic terrorism alert to the second-highest level in August last year, saying an attack was “highly likely”.
Cameron was due to meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo later on Monday to discuss how the two countries could cooperate in the battle against Islamist militancy.
The Islamist threat is high on the political agenda in Britain after a gunman killed 30 British tourists at a Tunisian beach resort last month in an attack claimed by Islamic State.
Tunisia’s government said at the time that the gunman had been trained in a jihadist camp in Libya.
Britain is already taking part in U.S.-led air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq and Cameron is keen to get parliamentary backing later this year to extend that aerial campaign to Syria. But he has not, before Monday, raised the prospect of bombing targets inside anarchic Libya.
Cameron spoke after The Sunday Telegraph reported Cameron and his advisers had discussed what they could do to help defeat Islamist militants in Libya if a stable government there emerged. -Reuters