British Prime Minister David Cameron was on Wednesday to chair an emergency meeting following the execution of a second US journalist by Islamist fighters in Iraq and the threat that a British hostage will be next.
In a video showing the severed head of 31-year-old Steven Sotloff, a masked militant warned a British man, widely identified as David Cawthorne Haines, would be killed in response to US air strikes against militants in northern Iraq, AFP reported.
According to Reuters the British Foreign Ministry announced earlier Wednesday that an "unsuccessful attempt" had been made to rescue Haines from the hands of IS.
"As I have said consistently over the last few weeks, ISIL terrorists speak for no religion. They threaten Syrians, Iraqis, Americans and British people alike and make no distinction between Muslims, Christians or any other faith," said Cameron ahead of the meeting of Britain's emergency response committee.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and former foreign secretary William Hague were seen arriving at Downing Street for the 8:15am (0715 GMT) meeting, which will address the broad threat posed by the extremist group and the government's possible response.
While Britain has so far not joined in US air strikes against the Islamist fighters, but has helped armed Kurds fighting in northern Iraq and has dropped aid to people surrounded by IS fighters on Mount Sinjar and in the town of Amerli, the foreign minister confirmed today that the option of airstrikes against IS is not ruled out; "The hostage video does not change strategy" he insisted.