Soldier backs strikes against terror group

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A former soldier who lost both his legs in Afghanistan has backed the prospect of UK involvement in air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

With MPs recalled to Parliament tomorrow to vote on the issue, Rick Clement, from South Shore, said he supported RAF involvement.

Mr Clement, 34, who stepped on an explosive in Afghanistan in 2010, said he believed ground troops may also have to be deployed.

Islamic State (IS) Sunni Muslim militants have overrun parts of Syria and Iraq, vowing to establish hardline Sharia law. They have beheaded at least three western hostages and persecuted people with different religious views, including Shia Muslims and Christians.

The US has launched air strikes on IS fighters with support from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar.

“We can’t keep letting them behead our people, we’ve got to do something,” said Mr Clement, who also served in Iraq in 2004/05.

“I would see how successful air strikes are, but I do think we might have to look at sending troops in.

“If we don’t act, IS may 
undo the good work we did in Iraq. I know personally that we helped people there and made it a better place.

“Of course there’s a risk to our forces, but that goes with doing the job.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP, Paul Maynard, said: “We are expecting Iraq to ask us to become involved and on that basis I’m inclined to listen sympathetically, but I’m keen to hear what the end point would be.

“IS are kidnapping UK citizens and there are reports they are planning outrages in the UK and the western world.

“What makes this situation different is the involvement of other countries in the region.

“If there was a need for ground forces I would look to the Arab world to supply them first because I think we have done our stint in that regard.”

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: “We’re facing an adversary in IS which is even more cruel and more disruptive than al Qaeda to not just our peace but that of the whole of the Middle East.

“Clearly, air strikes are not going to solve these issues by themselves. I imagine the discussion will be about the terms on which any strikes would happen and what the ground support within the region would be.

“We will have to look carefully at the details.”

Fylde MP, Mark Menzies, said: “Having visited Iraqi Kurdistan, I believe it is imperative that peace and stability is restored to the region, and for this human misery to end.

“Under the current circumstances I believe it is necessary for a coalition of forces, including our Arab allies, to target IS with air strikes.”