Article published in The New Day, 25 April 2016. © Richard Kemp

British forces, with our NATO allies, should attack and destroy the Islamic State in Libya – whether or not we are invited in.

From their growing base around the town of Sirte and along a 150-mile stretch of coast, Islamic State terrorists threaten the whole of Europe, including Britain. If they are not stopped they will expand through Libya and generate increasing support among jihadists throughout north and east Africa.

ISIS has been damaged in Iraq and Syria, but they have not yet suffered a decisive blow at the hands of Western forces. This is needed to shatter the myth of invincibility that has inspired widespread support among Muslim communities throughout Europe.

Their brutal defiance of Western powers has been a magnet for thousands of jihadists who have flocked to join them. Many have returned and now present the greatest terrorist threat the continent has ever seen.

Before it’s too late, NATO navies need to impose an iron grip along the north African shore to turn back the migrants and cut off sea routes for terrorist infiltration and arms smuggling.

NATO air forces need to unleash a thunderstorm of air attacks against Islamic State fighters in and around Sirte, with a devastation not yet seen in Iraq or Syria.

And the British Army and our allies must get ready to go in on the ground. Unlike the quagmire campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, this time the gloves must come off so that we can attack and defeat them rapidly and with extreme violence.

And then we must get out quickly, with no attempt to remain to impose Western-style democracy or build schools.

Image: smoke over the Gulf of Sirte, Libya