British PM Cameron urges parliament to back "years" of air strikes against IS

LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron urged parliament on Friday to vote to approve "years" of air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying the group was guilty of "staggering" brutality and posed a direct threat to Britain.

Cameron recalled parliament from recess for a special session after securing cross-party support for strikes against IS and his government is expected to comfortably win the vote, which is expected at around 1600 GMT.

"Is there a threat to the British people? The answer is yes," Cameron told parliament, saying he thought action would need to last "years" to be effective.

"This is not a threat on the far side of the world. Left unchecked we will face a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member, with a declared and proven intention to attack our country and our people."

Although parliament is expected to vote in favour of air strikes, some lawmakers in Cameron's Conservative party think striking IS in Iraq is insufficient and want him to extend action to tackle IS militants in Syria too, something he has said he isn't ready to do for now.

Conversely, some lawmakers from the left-leaning opposition Labour party are uncomfortable about the prospect of any kind of military action, but Ed Miliband, the party's leader, says he backs Cameron on strikes against IS in Iraq.