Airstrike

The UK’s Attorney General Jeremy Wright is to announce the government’s legal basis for military strikes against terror suspects abroad in a speech later today.

The country’s chief legal advisor is set to announce that pre-emptive military strikes are required in order to defend the nation against terrorist threats from abroad.

He will go on to say that the legal basis on which these strikes are carried out should, however, be made more explicit, as it is vital that our international laws adapt to suit today’s military climate.

Mr Wright will argue that warfare has been irrefutably altered by the use of technology, which has “made it easier” for terrorists to carry out attacks.

Currently, the UK stance on pre-emptive self-defence dates back to 1837, when British troops seized a ship in US waters after it was judged to be an imminent threat to British interests.

Forces TV's James Hirst spoke to Mr Wright ahead of his speech, while Matt Teale spoke to war ethics and drones expert, Peter Lee. Just click below to watch...

After controversy emerged in 2015, when two British Nationals, Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, were killed in an RAF drone strike on an IS held area of Raqqa, MPs called for ministers for clarification of the legal basis of such strikes.

Cardiff born Islamic State fighter Reyaad Khan killed in RAF drone strike
Cardiff Born Reyaad Khan

Mr Wright will be hoping to provide this clarification, as he will emphasise the fact that the government’s “primary duty” is to protect its own citizens.

Ruhul Amin
Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen

However, he will go on to state:

“We can only use lethal force when there is a clear legal basis for doing so”.

Currently the threat level for international terrorism stands at severe, meaning that a UK terrorist attack is “highly likely”.

But the Attorney General will seek to reassure the public by saying:

“The UK is a world leader in promoting, defending and shaping international law, and for the first time we are setting out how we determine whether an attack is imminent.”

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