Danish fighter jets will strike Isis targets in Iraq

Seven Danish fighter jets and 140 military personnel will head for Iraq on Thursday after a wide majority of parliament approved Denmark's contribution to the fight against Isis.

Danish fighter jets will strike Isis targets in Iraq
Danish F-16s will bomb Isis targets in northern Iraq. Photo: Christian Als/Scanpix
By a vote of 94-9, the Danish parliament on Thursday approved a military mission in Iraq
Denmark will send four F-16 fighter jets to join the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, the terror organisation known alternately as Isis or ISIL, in northern Iraq. An additional three jets will be used for logistical support. The jets will be accompanied by up to 140 Danish military personnel. Additionally, Denmark will deploy around 20 staff officers and up to 120 military trainers. 
“Today, Denmark provides yet another solid contribution to the fight against the brutal terrorist organisation ISIL. We are part of a very broad coalition consisting of approximately 50 other countries, including ten countries from the region,” Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said.
“ISIL constitutes an serious security threat against the people in the region, as well as Denmark. Therefore I am happy that there is a large majority in support of our contribution,” he added. 
Lidegaard stressed that the military contribution is but “one element in a coherent and broad strategy to fight ISIL”. 
The defence minister, Nicolai Wammen, said the Danish jets will leave for Kuwait on Thursday before flying on to northern Iraq.
“The Danish Defence is prepared to do the job, and we have some of the best trained soldiers in the world ready to deploy on the shortest possible notice. Today, our F-16 fighter jets will take off followed later by our capacity building staff and the staff manning the coalition headquarters,” he said. 
The resolution to approve the military contribution took an unexpected turn on Wednesday night in parliament. Although Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt had already secured broad political support for the mission, what was expected to be a formality ended up in a long night of political discussions. A vote on the resolution was pushed back until Thursday morning when, despite the drama from the night before, it was approved by a wide margin. 
Only the left-wing Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) and independent MP Uffe Elbæk voted against the resolution.  

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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.