Denmark joins fight against Islamic State group

LONDON (AP) — The Danish government on Friday announced it was joining the coalition to strike at the
Islamic State extremist group, sending seven F-16 fighter jets to take part in airstrikes against the
group in Iraq.

Britain and Belgium are also debating their involvement in the coalition Friday, while the Netherlands
has already announced it will take part. The European countries do not plan to deploy in Syria.

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said her government would send four operational planes and
three reserve jets along with 250 pilots and support staff. The deployment will last for 12 months.

She urged other countries to participate, too. "No one should be ducking in this case. Everyone
should contribute," she said.

A vote in Parliament is planned and is considered a formality. However, no date was immediately set for
the vote.

In Britain Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron made an impassioned plea for Britain to join the
coalition. Cameron told a tense House of Commons that there was no more serious issue than asking the
country to devote armed forces to conflict. He repeatedly stressed that no combat troops were planned,
but he could barely get through his statement, as lawmakers peppered him with questions about the move.

"I believe it is our duty to take part," he said. "This international operation is about
protecting our people, too, and protecting the streets of Britain should not be a task that we are
prepared to entirely subcontract to other air forces of other countries."

Lawmakers are expected to approve the motion, which is supported by all three main parties and comes only
days after Iraq’s prime minister requested help.

The motion does not address any action in Syria. Critics say that would be illegal because Syrian
President Bashar Assad has not invited outsiders to help.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond refused to speculate Friday on how long the military campaign could
last, but lawmakers envision a long-term action.

"We are going into this with our eyes open," Hammond told Sky News, adding that the Islamic
State group is a threat to national security.


Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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