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Denmark pulls F-16 jets back from anti-ISIS operation

December 2, 2016 (by Lieven Dewitte) - In a planned move, Denmark is pulling back its seven F-16 fighter jets from a US-led multinational air campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said it is pulling their airplanes out as planned. Instead they will send construction and engineering troops to help with reconstruction projects in the region.

Denmark joined the international coalition in October 2014, and sent, among others, seven F-16 planes, which briefly returned to Denmark for repairs. In April, a large majority in the Danish Parliament sent them back, this time with a mandate to bomb in Syria. Denmark said that after six months it would review its operation. Now that six months have passed they plan to withdraw their jets in mid-December.

Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said Friday that an undisclosed number of special Danish troops were continuing to train and support Iraqi troops fighting Islamic State militants.

Samuelson went on to add that the Copenhagen made this decision after weighing up the “economical and practical considerations” of continuing to participate in the multinational campaign and subsequently concluded that “it makes no sense, so we just stick to plan.”

Denmark was one of the coalition countries involved in an errant coalition airstrike which mistook Syrian soldiers in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor for ISIS militants and subsequently bombed them, killing at least 62 of them on September 17.

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