Canada lawmakers approve air strikes against Islamic State

Legislators approved government plans to send fighter jets to Iraq to help US-led airstrikes in the region.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on 25 September, 2014. Picture: AFP.

OTTAWA - Canadian legislators on Tuesday approved government plans to send fighter jets to Iraq, where they will take part in US-led air strikes against Islamic State militants for up to six months.

The result of the vote was never in doubt, since the ruling Conservatives have a majority in the House of Commons. Members of Parliament voted 157-134 in favour of the mission.

The two main opposition parties had opposed the mission on the grounds that Prime Minister Stephen Harper had not given enough details and could drag the country into a long drawn-out war.

Harper has promised that Canada will not deploy ground troops against Islamic State.

The United States has been bombing Islamic State and other groups in Syria for more than two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in Iraq since August. European countries have joined the campaign in Iraq but not in Syria.

Harper said that unless the Islamic State is stopped it could mount attacks around the world, including in Canada.

The SITE Intelligence Group on Tuesday said an alleged Islamic State fighter had used Twitter to call for attacks on Canada. It named the man as Abu Khalid Al-Kanadi, a name that indicates he comes from Canada.