Danish F-16s enter the fight against IS

Seven fighters heading to Iraq

The government has announced it will deploy seven of its F-16 fighter jets to Iraq to take on Islamic State (IS), the prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt confirmed in a press release today.

The Danish fighter jets will only be active in Iraqi airspace – and not Syrian airspace – Thorning-Schmidt said. The government received an official request from the US yesterday asking the Danes to contribute fighter jets to the international coalition battling the IS.

“IS is a terrible organisation that Denmark will take part in fighting,” Thorning-Schmidt said in a press release.

“IS is a threat to Denmark and our allies. If we leave them be, it will only get worse. Pretending that nothing is happening and ignoring the issue is not an option.”

READ MORE: Denmark joins coalition against IS

May also train Iraqis and Kurds
The government is leaning towards initially deploying the F-16 group to Iraq for a period of 12 months. The US have also asked the Danes to help train Iraqi and Kurdish security troops – a task that the government is also poised to accept.

For now, the US has assembled over 40 nations – Denmark joined in early September – as part of an international coalition against IS, which includes five Arab nations: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Aside from the Danes, France, the Netherlands and Belgium have also sent F-16 fighters to help the cause, while the British House of Commons will decide today whether to follow suit.

Denmark has already contributed a Hercules transport aircraft – which is transporting weapons, aid, munitions and other supplies to north Iraq – to the fight against IS.