Australia is preparing to contribute 600 troops and up to 10 military aircraft to the increasingly aggressive campaign against the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday.
Abbott said Australia was responding to a formal request from the United States for specific contributions to the international coalition.
President Barack Obama announced the more aggressive military campaign last week. Scores of U.S. airstrikes have been launched at select targets in Iraq, and U.S. planes and drones will be gathering intelligence on targets before launching airstrikes in Syria.
Australia will prepare up to eight F/A18 combat aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail Early Warning and Control aircraft and a KC-30A Tanker and Transport aircraft to be deployed to the United Arab Emirates, a statement from Abbott’s office said.
The 400 air force personnel and 200 others in the contingent could be deployed this week, Abbott told reporters in Darwin.
The statement said special operations personnel who could assist Iraq’s security forces were being prepared also, but combat troops were not being deployed.
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