Pressure is mounting on the Government to take action against wealthy Gulf states accused of funding Islamist terrorism after the beheading of Alan Henning, the British aid worker kidnapped in Syria.

Two retired generals and a former defence secretary claimed that nations such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia were helping the rise of violent extremism by channelling cash to terrorist groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which carried out Mr Henning’s murder.

The trio of senior military figures said air strikes against Isil were insufficient to defeat the terrorist threat. Instead, they called on the Government to pressure Gulf leaders into tackling extremism by strangling the funding of terrorist networks and the religious ideology that fuels them.

Investigations by The Telegraph suggest that tens of millions of pounds have been raised for Isil — and al-Qaeda — by wealthy individuals in the Gulf region while its leaders have “turned a blind eye” to the problem or been complicit in funding certain groups.

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