Canada begins airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RACF) has carried out first airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Iraq.
Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement: "Coordinated with our coalition partners, two CF-18s attacked ISIL targets with GBU12 500 lb laser-guided bombs in the vicinity of Fallujah, Iraq.
"The approximately four-hour mission included air-to-air refuelling from Canada's Polaris aircraft.
"Today's strike demonstrates our government's firm resolve to tackle the threat of terrorism and to stand with our allies against ISIL's atrocities against innocent women, children and men.
"Assessment of the damage continues. More information will be provided during a media briefing on 4 November."
Canada has deployed 600 soldiers and six CF-188 Hornet fighters, one CC-150T Polaris aerial refueller and two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft as part of ongoing US-led coalition combat mission against the ISIL, also known as Islamic State (IS), in Iraq and Syria.
In addition, 69 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are working with the US in an advisory and assistance role by providing strategic and tactical advice to Iraqi security forces.
The Canadian airstrikes coincide with the Norwegian Government announcement to send 120 soldiers to assist in training of Iraqi forces for one year, with the possibility of an extension.
Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said: "Our proposal is to deploy personnel to a training centre in Erbil and to the Baghdad area, where they will provide guidance and support for an Iraqi security force.
"In both cases, we will cooperate closely with other contributing allies. Our aim is to enhance Iraq's ability to safeguard its own security."
Norway is expected to carry out its own assessment of the security situation before deploying soldiers to the region, which is estimated to cost the country around NOK210m ($31m).
Image: The Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets departs to Kuwait in support of Operation Impact. Photo: courtesy of Government of Canada.