The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) has started an aerial campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group in Iraq.

A statement published on the Dutch Defence Ministry’s official website said: "Two Dutch F-16s this morning used weapons for the first time in Iraq against the ISIS terror group.

"They dropped three bombs on armed ISIS vehicles that were shooting at (Kurdish) Peshmerga fighters in the north of the country.

"Vehicles were destroyed in the attack and ISIS fighters possibly killed."

In September, the Dutch Government authorised the deployment of six F-16 fighters to join a US-led coalition to fight against ISIL, also known as Islamic State in Iraq.

In addition to this, the country is sending two reserve F-16s, along with 250 military personnel and 130 trainers to the region to participate in the campaign.

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By GlobalData

In the coming weeks, the government is also expected to investigate what possibilities there are for putting in place an international legal mandate for military operations against the terrorist group in Syria.

The Dutch airstrikes comes as the Canadian Parliament authorised the country’s armed forces to conduct aerial bombardment against IS militants in Iraq.

"The Dutch Government authorised the deployment of six F-16 fighters to join a US-led coalition to fight against ISIL."

Introduced by the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party last week, the motion passed 157 to 134, and authorises airstrikes for up to six months, but restricts the use of ground troops.

Apart from six CF-18 fighter jets, one CC-150 Polaris tanker, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft, and one airlift aircraft, the combat mission also involves nearly 600 airmen and airwomen.

Harper said: "To be absolutely clear, Canada’s engagement in Iraq is not a ground combat mission.

"It includes a number of targeted measures, being taken with allies, to severely limit the ability of ISIL to engage in full-scale military movements and to operate bases in the open."

To date the UK, France, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have joined the US in the fight against the group, which controls large territory in northern Iraq and Syria.

Image: Netherlands deployed six F-16 fighters for airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq. Photo: courtesy of Netherlands Ministry of Defence.

Defence Technology