Canberra: Australian military aircraft Wednesday joined the joint international operation against the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group in Iraq.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament that the country has not yet made the final decision to commit forces to combat, but Australian aircraft will start flying over Iraq in support of allied operations, Xinhua reported.
A KC-30 aerial refuelling tanker and a Wedgetail early warning surveillance plane has started flights to help the US and other allied missions.
If the government gives approval, Super Hornet fighters will begin combat missions in Iraq in the coming weeks, Abbott said.
“I stress ours are support operations, not strike missions. Australian airstrikes await final clearances from the Iraqi government and a further decision by our own,” Abbott said.
“Australia can’t change the world but we can make a difference. Our objective is to support governments that neither commit genocide against their own people nor permit terrorism against ours,” he said.
“Our objective is to allow people to live their own lives in their own way and to worship in whatever way they choose,” Abbott added.