PRIME Minister Tony Abbott is considering what further action Australia can take against Islamist extremists in Iraq.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, has released a video of the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, 31, and has threatened to kill a British hostage.
The killer blames US air strikes, which are being carried out in support of the humanitarian mission involving Australian and other forces.
Mr Abbott said he had no doubt the atrocity was carried out by ISIL because the movement not only conducted evil acts but ‘‘is proud of evil’’.
US President Barack Obama, who will attend a NATO summit in Wales this week, said he would consult allies about ‘‘additional actions to take against ISIL’’.
Mr Abbott says further action in Iraq to protect people from ISIL was ‘‘abundantly justified’’.
‘‘We have received no specific request to engage in actual military action against ISIL,’’ he said.
‘‘Nevertheless we have received a general request and we are considering what we may be able to make available.’’
Australian aircraft have delivered humanitarian air drops in Iraq to the besieged people on Mount Sinjar and Amerli and have flown military equipment to Kurdish forces in Erbil.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called the murder of the two journalists ‘‘mediaeval’’.
‘‘It is not because of Western involvement, as these Islamic fundamentalist terrorists would have you believe – it is because they follow a wicked ideology of extremism,’’ Mr Shorten said.
Defence officials said RAAF C-17A Globemaster aircraft had taken weapons from Albania into Iraq to arm the Kurds.
No shots were fired at the aircraft and the mission was carried out without incident.
More aid, stores and support flights were possible, they said. AAP