The motion authorises air strikes in Iraq for up to six months and explicitly states that no ground troops be used in combat operations.

Following a request from the U.S., Canada’s Parliament has voted to authorise airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party introduced the motion last week and it was debated this week. Mr. Harper has a majority of seats in Parliament so the vote was all but assured. The motion passed on Tuesday 157-134.

The motion authorises air strikes in Iraq for up to six months and explicitly states that no ground troops be used in combat operations.

The combat mission includes up to six CF-18 fighter jets, a refuelling tanker aircraft, two surveillance planes and one airlift aircraft. About 600 airmen and airwomen will be involved.

Canada is among dozens of countries that have joined the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group.

“The threat posed by ISIL is real,” Mr. Harper said in a statement, referring to the Islamic State by one of its acronyms.

“If left unchecked this terrorist organisation will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target.”

The White House welcomed Canada’s deployment.

“Canadians and Americans have fought alongside each other in several major conflicts over the past century, and we are grateful for Canada’s further contribution against terrorism,” a White House statement said.

Canada has more than two dozen special forces advisers already in Iraq and has plans for up to 69 advisers as part of an effort to advise Kurdish forces against Islamic militants after a request from President Barack Obama. The U.S. followed that up with another request for an air combat role.

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Although the mission didn’t need parliamentary approval, the government submitted it to a vote to show consensus.

Canada’s former Liberal government refused a request to send troops when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, straining ties between the two neighbours. Canada then stepped up its Afghanistan mission.

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