Belgium is set to offer six fighter jets to the U.S.-led coalition to combat ISIS militants in Iraq, the country's defense ministry said on Wednesday. Defense Minister Pieter De Crem was due to outline Belgium's proposed contribution on Wednesday afternoon after the country received a formal request from the United States. Belgium would send six F-16 jets, along with 120 pilots and support staff. The country would also provide C-130 cargo planes to carry troops and material to Iraq. A previous suggestion to send about 35 special forces soldiers to advise local troops was not taken up by the United States.
Any Belgian engagement will require the approval of parliament, although there appears to be a very broad majority in favor of action. Washington is attempting to organize a coalition of Western and allied countries to counter ISIS, which has seized large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, reaching up to the border with NATO member Turkey.
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