UK & World News
UK Steps Up Help For Kurds Amid Massacre Fears
Britain will supply Kurdish forces with "non-lethal" equipment, including night-vision goggles and body armour, in their fight against militants in northern Iraq.
No 10 said the Government was stepping up its efforts to help defeat Islamic State (IS) by also appointing a special representative to the country's Kurdistan region.
Security envoy Lieutenant General Sir Simon Mayall will support Kurdish and wider Iraqi efforts to counter IS and work with Iraq's leaders as they try to establish a unity government.
He will travel to the country next week to meet political chiefs in Baghdad and the Kurdistan regional government in Irbil to encourage all sides to unite against IS, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said the Government was investing "significant resources" to tackle "a barbaric ideology".
And he warned that if the IS militants are not stopped in Iraq and Syria "sooner or later they will seek to strike us on British soil".
It comes as the United Nations warned of a "possible massacre" in an Iraqi town which has been besieged by IS insurgents.
The UN's special envoy to the country said immediate action was needed to protect 17,000 people in Amerli.
Nickolay Mladenov said reports "confirm that people are surviving in desperate conditions" and there is "unspeakable suffering".
Shia Turkmen residents of the town, in the Salaheddin province north of Baghdad, have been cut off from food and water supplies by IS for months.
Sky's Stuart Ramsay, reporting from Kalar, about 25 miles from Amerli, said: "We understand the Iraqi military is north and south of the town and it is claimed they are attempting to get in to try and relieve the people who are in pretty terrible conditions.
"No food, no water and running very low on ammunition. How they have been holding out against IS I simply cannot imagine. I suspect IS have not tried to go in with any great force because they are well-organised and extremely well-armed."
Thousands of Kurdish peshmerga forces have been fighting Sunni extremists around northeastern towns including Jalula and Sa'dya, which have been controlled by IS for weeks.
Meanwhile, at least 30 people were killed on Saturday in explosions in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk, where three blasts went off in a crowded commercial area.
In the capital, a suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in the Karrada district - killing civilians and security personnel.
In Irbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, local media said a car bomb had exploded.
After pouring in from Syria across a desert border that it does not recognise, IS has taken over large parts of both countries and declared its own caliphate.