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Britain launches airstrikes against IS in Syria

Four Royal Air Force Tornados took off from a British air base in Akrotiri, Cyprus, shortly after the vote.

A Ministry of Defense spokesman told the AP the planes had conducted strikes in Syria, and details about their targets would be provided later Thursday,

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name when discussing operations.

The RAF has been launching strikes against IS targets in Iraq from Cyprus since 2014.

In a statement released by the White House, Obama says he welcomes British lawmakers’ vote in favor of joining in the air campaign in Syria. He also welcomes news that Germany may commit up to 1,200 support troops to the mission. The deployment still needs final approval, but Obama says it’s a sign that Germany is committed to fighting a “shared threat.”

The White House has sought to enlist additional support for the anti-IS campaign in the wake of the attacks in Paris.

Obama says the Islamic State group “is a global threat that must be defeated by a global response.” He praised the allies’ steps as demonstrating the coalition’s “unity and resolve.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron, standing centre left, talks to lawmakers inside the House of Commons in London during a debate on launching airstrikes against Islamic State extremists inside Syria, Wednesday,

The 397-223 vote in the House of Commons means Royal Air Force fighter jets — already operating against IS in neighboring Iraq — could be flying over Syria within days or even hours.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that after the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks, claimed by IS, Britain should strike the militants in their heartland and not “sit back and wait for them to attack us.”

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn opposed what he called a “reckless and half-baked intervention,” but dozens of his lawmakers voted with the government to back airstrikes.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says the British government is changing the way it refers to the Islamic State militant group, now calling it Daesh.

Britain had previously used the acronym ISIL — Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons that he was making the change “because frankly this evil death cult is neither a true representation of Islam nor is it a state.”

Cameron spoke amid an all-day debate about whether Britain should extend airstrikes against IS from Iraq into Syria.

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the group’s name that also carries negative associations. The Twitter account U.K. Against ISIL — now rebranded U.K. Against Daesh — said the term is hated by the militants because it sound similar to Arabic words meaning “trample” and “one who sows discord.”

Meanwhile, Poland’s foreign minister says that the country is mulling how it might support the anti-Islamic State coalition, though it is unlikely that Warsaw would provide troops.

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said Wednesday that Poland’s Defense Ministry is determining how Poland might help the coalition after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry appealed for support during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

Waszczykowski said: “We will certainly exchange political and intelligence reports. Everything depends on the abilities of the Defense Ministry.”

Poland sent troops to the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but many Poles feel bitter that its contributions in Iraq did not bring more benefits to the country.