Dutch F-16s to join Islamic State strikes: report

24th September 2014, Comments 1 comment

Dutch F-16 fighter bombers are to join the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq, Dutch media reported Wednesday ahead of an emergency cabinet meeting.

The Volkskrant daily quoted government sources as saying four planes could join the fight, while national news agency ANP said the number was undecided.

Iraq has welcomed the US-led attacks on jihadist groups including the Islamic State organisation.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week there were legal obstacles to his country launching air strikes on Islamists in Iraq's neighbour Syria without a UN mandate.

The threat posed by the IS group prompted the United States to launch airstrikes in Iraq last month and on Tuesday the operation was expanded to IS and other groups in Syria.

The Dutch cabinet is to meet later on Wednesday to discuss potential military involvement in the fight against IS.

Branded a terrorist organisation by the United States and the United Nations, IS controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, and has beheaded two US journalists and a British aid worker.

The US military operation in Syria is supported by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan, prompting US President Barack Obama to proclaim that the campaign against the radical Sunni fighters was "not America's fight alone".

France sent Rafale fighters into action in Iraq last week, but France and Britain have said they will not join the US-led operation in Syria.

British media said that parliament could be recalled as early as Friday to decide whether to join the US-led air.

The Dutch were not part of an anti-IS coalition gathered by Obama at a NATO summit in Britain earlier this month.

The Netherlands said in August it was sending 1,000 flak jackets and helmets to Iraqi Kurds fighting IS on the ground.

© 2014 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • carrico posted:

    on 24th September 2014, 15:40:46 - Reply

    How very delicate for Europe--and yet how very critical.
    Can the Dutch stiffen the British backbone?