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The Congress has received a draft authorization to formally use military force against the Islamic State group (ISIS) from President Barack Obama.

The resolution would not restrict where US forces could pursue ISIS but bans “enduring offensive combat operations”.

The US has already pursued air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

Congress has not formally voted for military force since 2002, for the Iraq war.

Barack Obama has called for ending that resolution, about the Iraq war, but the new draft does not make any changes to the Afghanistan war resolution in 2001.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

The draft the president has sent Congress in regards to ISIS is limited to three years.

It will force Congress to vote on war for the first time in 13 years and it’s expected to set up a debate about America’s role in the Middle East and how to best counter the militant group.

In a letter sent to Congress along with his draft, President Barack Obama said while “existing statutes” allow the air strikes, he has “repeatedly expressed my commitment to working with the Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL”.

Barack Obama said it “would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan” but would provide flexibility to pursue rescue operations and special operations attacks.

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Islamic State (ISIS) militants have released an audiotape they say was recorded by the group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, days after reports that he had been killed or injured.

In the recording, released via social media, the speaker says ISIS fighters will never stop fighting “even if only one soldier remains”.

Correspondents say the recording appears authentic and recent.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul last week.

Thursday’s 17-minute recording makes no direct reference to that air strike, but does mention some developments that have occurred since then.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul

An English transcript of the recording was also released.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US-led coalition fighting ISIS was making progress, but must “prepare for a long and difficult struggle”.

The ISIS audiotape mentions President Barack’s Obama decision to deploy an extra 1,500 troops to Iraq – a move announced shortly after the air strike on Mosul.

The recording calls on ISIS supporters to “erupt volcanoes of jihad” across the world.

He disparages opponents of ISIS as “Jews, Crusaders, apostates… [and] devils”, and says the US and its allies “are terrified, weak and powerless”.

The recording also calls for attacks in Saudi Arabia – describing Saudi leaders as “the head of the snake” – and says that the US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq is failing.

Gulf state rulers, who have joined the US-led coalition against IS, are described as “treacherous”.

The recording also refers to new pledges of allegiance from jihadist groups in Libya, Egypt and Yemen that occurred in recent days.

“O soldiers of the Islamic State… erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere. Light the earth with fire against all dictators,” the voice on the recording says.

In contrast to the audio messaging disparaging the coalition efforts, Chuck Hagel said US-led air strikes had helped in “degrading and destroying ISIL’s [ISIS] war fighting capacity and in denying safe haven to its fighters”.

“Directly and through support of Iraqi forces, coalition air strikes have hit ISIL’s command and control, its leadership, its revenue sources… and impaired its ability to amass forces,” he added.

The self-styled Islamic State – a jihadist group also known as ISIS, or ISIL – has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq since June, declaring a caliphate over territory it controls.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself is a shadowy figure who only showed himself publicly for the first time in a video released in July, when he delivered a sermon in Mosul, Iraq.

He claims lineage from the family and tribe of the Prophet Muhammad.

Although currently limited to Iraq and Syria, ISIS has promised to “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and to “free Palestine”.

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PM David Cameron said that the UK will take “whatever steps are necessary” to keep safe after a video showing the killing of hostage David Haines was issued by Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

David Cameron the UK would “hunt down” the killers of the aid worker, whom he called a “British hero”.

He said the “menace” of ISIS had to be destroyed in a “calm, deliberate” way.

In the video released by ISIS militants, they also threatened to kill a second Briton, who has been named as Alan Henning, 47.

Alan Henning, a married father-of-two from Salford, worked as a taxi driver and was a volunteer on an aid convoy.

Speaking at Downing Street after a meeting of the UK emergency committee Cobra, David Cameron said of ISIS, also known as ISIL, “they are not Muslims, they are monsters”.

“We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes.”

In the video, a masked man who appears to have a British accent was pictured beside David Haines holding a knife.

Masked ISIS militant pictured beside David Haines

Masked ISIS militant pictured beside David Haines

David Cameron said the country was “sickened” that a Briton could have carried out the “despicable” killing.

“We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe,” he said.

“Step by step, we must drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL and what it stands for.

“We will not do so on our own, but with working with our allies, not just in the United States and in Europe, but also in the region.”

He said the organization posed a “massive threat” to the entire Middle East and said it would be defeated through a “comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy”.

The prime minister added: “This is not about British combat troops on the ground. It is about working with others to extinguish this terrorist threat.”

US officials later said several Arab countries had offered to take part in air strikes against ISIS militants in Iraq – subject to approval from the Iraqi government.

Secretary of State John Kerry – speaking in Paris after a whirlwind tour of the Middle East trying to drum up support for action against ISIS – said he was “extremely encouraged” by such promises.

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President Barack Obama has announced that the US will not hesitate to take action against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria as well as Iraq.

In a nationally televised speech outlining his strategy against ISIS, Barack Obama said that any group that threatened America would “find no safe haven”.

The president also announced that 475 US military personnel would be sent to Iraq but said they would not have a combat role.

ISIS controls large parts of Syria and Iraq after a rapid military advance.

Its fighters have become notorious for their brutality, beheading enemy soldiers and Western journalists on video.

The US has launched over 150 air strikes against the group in Iraq and provided arms to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting against IS.

In a 15-minute speech shown at peak time in the US, Barack Obama vowed that America would lead “a broad coalition to roll back” ISIS.

“Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – the previous name for ISIS] targets as Iraqi forces go on the offense” he said.

Barack Obama has announced that the US will not hesitate to take action against Islamic State militants in Syria as well as Iraq

Barack Obama has announced that the US will not hesitate to take action against Islamic State militants in Syria as well as Iraq (photo AFP)

He said he would welcome congressional approval for the fight against ISIS but said that he had the authority to act without it.

Barack Obama was elected in part because of fervent opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and presided over the US troop pullout from the country.

In 2013, the president abandoned plans to launch airstrikes in Syria against government forces after congressional opposition.

In his speech, Barack Obama ruled out working with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, despite the fact that his forces are also engaged in fighting ISIS.

“In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people: a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost” he said.

Instead, Barack Obama said, the US would seek to strengthen the non-ISIS Syrian opposition, which fights against both ISIS and President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria’s Western-backed National Coalition welcomed Barack Obama’s plan, and urged Congress to approve it.

“The Syrian Coalition… stands ready and willing to partner with the international community not only to defeat [ISIS] but also rid the Syrian people of the tyranny of the Assad regime,” its president Hadi al-Bahra said in a statement, quoted by Reuters news agency.

Secretary of State John Kerry is already in the Middle East trying to build a coalition against IS.

John Kerry was in Iraq on Wednesday, where he praised the new government’s plans to involve more Sunnis in government and heal ties with the Kurds.

He said the president’s strategy “will succeed because doing it with allies and partners isn’t just smart, it’s strong”.

Barack Obama has already authorized $25 million in aid for the Iraqi military.

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