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Iraq: Danes send attack planes

By Nigel Morris

The Danish government is sending seven F-16 fighter jets to take part in airstrikes in Iraq against the Islamic State extremist group.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said her left-leaning government had a parliamentary majority backing the deployment of four operational planes, three reserve ones and 250 pilots and support staff.

She added a vote in parliament was planned, but that is was considered a formality.

The nearby Netherlands has already agreed to join the US-led coalition in Iraq.

But neither country plans to deploy in Syria.

Denmark has already contributed a transport plane to a US-led humanitarian operation in northern Iraq.

Belgium has also joined the US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State group and will send six F-16s to take part in the operation. Belgian participation for one month was authorised by the country's Chamber of Representatives on Friday afternoon after more than three-and-a-half hours of debate.

The Belgian military contingent should number 120, including eight pilots.

Defence Minister Pieter De Crem said the F-16 multi-role fighters, to be based in Jordan, would be ready from today.

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