Gavin Williamson on British jihadis fighting for ISIS - hunt them down and kill them
British jihadis who fight for ISIS should be hunted down and killed to make sure they never come back to the UK, Gavin Williamson has said.
The Defence Secretary has vowed to eliminate those who were intent on bringing 'destruction, death and bloodshed' to the streets of Britain.
He said: "My view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain."
In October, the terror laws watchdog said authorities should look to reintegrate 'naive' jihadis who travel to warzones, rather than prosecute them on their return to the country.
But adopting an uncompromising stance on the issue, South Staffordshire MP Mr Williamson said the armed forces were working 'right across the globe' to ensure jihadis are never able to come back to the country in the first place.
He said: "I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country."
Mr Williamson said the role of jihadis in foreign lands should not be underestimated, with 'much of what is done to activate' threats to Britain taking place in places such as Libya, Iraq and Syria.
He added: "Our job in terms of eliminating will not stop this year, will not stop next year, it is something we have got to continue to pursue."
More than 800 UK citizens are thought to have gone to fight for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Around half of them have already returned, and around 130 have been killed, leaving an estimated 270 left.
Mr Williamson condmened British citizens who had gone abroad to join terrorist organisations ‘that hate everything that Britain stands for, hate our values, hate that Britain is as a beacon to the world of democracy and tolerance'.
He said it was right that Britain’s forces were trying to tackle that threat.
"Our forces are right across the globe degrading and destroying that threat, making sure that these people who want to bring destruction, death, bloodshed onto our streets aren’t able to come back,’ he said.
"That is as important part of the jigsaw as what we actually do on the streets in Britain."
The Defence Secretary also vowed that those British fighters who had ‘splintered’ and fled to other countries would also be found and prevented from returning to the UK.
His comments came after it was reported that British ISIS recruiter Sally-Anne Jones had been killed in a US drone strike in Syria in June.
And International Development Minister Rory Stewart, said the 'only way' to deal with British ISIS fighters in Syria was 'in almost every case' to kill them.
He said they can expect to be killed because of the 'serious danger' they pose to the UK's security.
The Prime Minister's spokesman said anyone fighting with Britain's enemies in Iraq and Syria had made themselves 'a legitimate target'.
Yesterday Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivered a speech in which he praised British efforts around the world to tackle terrorism.
Asked if he agreed with Mr Williamson's stance, he said: "I think that [former Defence Secretary] Michael Fallon put it very well a few weeks ago when he said that anybody who goes to fight for Daesh in Syria or Iraq has got to understand that they are putting themselves in harm’s way and, indeed, making themselves legitimate targets of British armed forces, and that is the reality."
Earlier this week, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker told the Cabinet that a total of nine Islamist terrorist plots had been thwarted in the UK over the past year.