UK Parliament recalled to discuss Iraq airstrikes

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LONDON (AP) — Britain's Parliament has been recalled to debate whether the country should support air strikes to thwart Islamic State group extremists in Iraq, Prime Minster David Cameron said Wednesday.

Cameron announced the session, which will include a vote, after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in New York. In the meeting, Al-Abadi requested help in fighting the violent organization.

Cameron said action in Syria, where the militants also have seized a swathe of territory, will not be on the agenda Friday, when lawmakers will be brought back from a recess called for party conference season in Britain.

"I'm confident we will get this through Parliament on an all-party basis," Cameron said. "We'll be voting on taking part in international action against (the Islamic State group) in Iraq, if there was a question of taking part in action in Syria that would be a separate parliamentary vote and debate. I want to be very clear about that."

The decision to omit Syria from the debate is important, as opposition lawmakers have questioned the legality of taking the fight to the country governed by Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has not requested intervention. The request for help from the Iraqi leadership government will offer the legal backing for UK action absent in efforts last year to win backing for attacks on Syria to stop it from using chemical weapons on its people.

The United States and France have launched airstrikes on the Islamic State group, but Britain has not yet taken such action.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband said his party would support the proposal.

"We cannot turn away from the threat of (the Islamic State group) which is a murderous organization, has taken British hostages, threatens the stability of the region and is therefore a threat to the UK's national interest," he said.

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