Danish military mission in Iraq gets green light

The use of a Hercules aircraft and up to 55 military personnel to transport weapons and other military supplies to Iraq has received parliament's approval.

Danish military mission in Iraq gets green light
One of Denmark's Hercules C-130 planes will be used in the mission. Photo: Henning Bagger/Scanpix
As expected, parliament on Wednesday approved Denmark's military contribution to the international campaign against jihadist militants in northern Iraq. 
A Hercules C-130J military aircraft carrier will be accompanied by up to 55 individuals, including a logistics team and security personnel. The Danish mission will deliver weapons, ammunition and other military goods to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State, the terrorist organisation previously known as Isis. 
“I’m pleased with the broad political support for Denmark’s contribution against Isis in Iraq. Isis is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – threats currently faced by the international community. Our contribution to the ongoing operation will obviously not eliminate Isis but will be used to help the Iraqis to defend Isis’s advances themselves,” Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said. 
According to Air Tactical Command (Flyvertaktisk Kommando), the aircraft will head to Iraq on Thursday.
"The plan is to leave [on Thursday] morning. The personnel is ready. They were of course notified in advance and are ready to go," spokesman Lars Skjoldan told Politiken. 
The Hercules C-130J will depart from Aalborg Air Base. 
The Danish Defence Intelligence Service (Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste) has determined that the Danish mission faces a “high” chance of being fired upon by militants in northern Iraq.
Lidegaard added that Denmark will also contribute humanitarian aid, but the United Nations has previously rejected the use of military aircraft for the transport of emergency aid

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Six arrested in Denmark raid for suspected Isis links

Six men suspected of being members of the so-called Islamic State (Isis) group or funding it were arrested in an anti-terror raid in Denmark on Tuesday, police said.

Six arrested in Denmark raid for suspected Isis links
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The suspects, whose identities were not disclosed, are aged between 27 and 35, police in East Jutland said.

Two of the suspects were arrested in the Danish capital Copenhagen and the four others in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city.

“Two of the people arrested, a man aged 29 from the region of Aarhus and a 30-year-old man living in Copenhagen, are suspected of penal code violations… for having travelled to Syria in 2014, where they were recruited by the terrorist organisation Islamic State,” police said in a statement.

The 29-year-old is also suspected of having tried to return to Syria in early 2015 to rejoin Isis.

Under his instruction, the four other suspects are accused of having acted as “intermediaries” and having sent money to the organisation.

According to Danish intelligence service PET, at least 160 people have travelled from Denmark to fight in Syria or Iraq. About a third of them have been killed in action, 32 are still there and around half of them have either returned to Denmark or another country.

Jihadism is considered the biggest threat to Denmark’s national security, according to PET.