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Cameron Condemns Execution Of British Aid Worker By ISIS

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. There's more grim news this morning from the terror group calling itself the Islamic State or ISIS. Another video has surfaced showing the apparent beheading of British citizen David Haines. Haines is the aid worker who was taken hostage last year in Syria. And like previous videos put out by the Islamic State, this newest one appears to name another western hostage as a future target. Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the murder this morning at a news conference in London.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON: David has been murdered in the most callous and brutal way imaginable by an organization which is the embodiment of evil. We will hunt down those responsible and bring them to justice no matter how long it takes.

NEARY: Gordon Corera, the BBC security correspondent, joins us now from London. Gordon, how similar is this video to ones we've seen before?

GORDON CORERA: Very similar indeed. The setting is the same out in the desert. It begins with a video clip, a news clip. In previous videos, it was one of President Obama. This time it was British Prime Minister David Cameron followed by the terrible scene of the hostage David Haines clearly under duress being coerced to give a very political statement about British support and involvement in military action in Iraq, and then the terrible act that we know has befallen the American hostages before and, as you said, are threatened against a further hostage. So in that sense, it follows the model of the previous videos very closely, just this one much more directed at Britain rather than America.

NEARY: Yes. In much the same way that the other two were directed towards President Obama. So what is the response from the British Government?

CORERA: Well, we heard David Cameron, the prime minister, talk about this being acts of pure evil. I think a very, quite emotional statement he gave after a meeting of the government's emergency committee this morning in which he really expressed his resolve to keep going with the existing policy. It wasn't an announcement of some huge new shift of policy by Britain. But I suppose what you got a sense of was a real determination to press forward on a number of fronts that are already occurring. And these include support for the U.S. and it's coalition to take action in Iraq, but also work to root out the ideology, the support for the group Islamic State because, of course, one of the most shocking things is that the man who apparently carries out the act of killing also has a British accent. So that was commented on, and that clearly is something which is disturbing and which the prime minister said he wants to confront.

NEARY: The U.K. has not yet made a firm commitment to joining in with the U.S. on air strikes. Do you think that that might occur now?

CORERA: That's, I think, a question which a lot of people are asking. I mean, it was noticeable that the prime minister talked about continuing to support with things like surveillance and reconnaissance. But he didn't mention military air strikes. Now that, we understand the issues of air strikes in Iraq, not necessarily in Syria, but in Iraq is still on the table and is being looked at here. But it doesn't sound like they have come to a final decision on that. They may well be taking soundings within Parliament. One reason that that might be the case is that last year, they took a vote on military action in Syria against the Assad regime in that case. They lost it in Parliament. And so I think there's a bit more caution about making sure that they are ready to do this, they want to do this, and they have the political support to do this.

NEARY: BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera. Thanks so much.

CORERA: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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