Defense: Hand off ISIS bombing raids to Belgium

Enduring Freedom
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan, May 28, 2008. (Photo: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/Wikimedia). (Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan, May 28, 2008. (Photo: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway/Wikimedia))

The Netherlands wants to join forces with Belgium in the fight against terrorist organization Islamic State in a plan in which the countries will take turns with bombing raids over Iraq, Dutch newspaper AD reports.

The Netherlands has been fighting ISIS in Iraq since October last year. This mission ends in October this year and the Netherlands has too few F-16's to continue an independent mission after that. This week Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and her Belgian colleague Steven Vandeput has been discussing the possibility of working together in the fight against ISIS.

According to Hennis, it is crucial that all coalition countries fighting against ISIS continue supporting the Iraqi army from the air. Belgium also wants to continue fighting against ISIS, but can not do so alone due to budgetary reasons, Tony Langone, spokesperson for the Belgium Ministry of Defense told AD. "We're stopping the mission in June for the time being. The scenario that we are discussing now, is that we will continue the mission together with the Netherlands from October."

According to Hennis, the government still has to make a decision on extending the mission. "In the case of an extension the collaboration with the Belgians belong to the possibilities, because we are already doing a lot together there." Hennis wants to keep fighting ISIS at all costs, AD reports.

Recently the Cabinet, including the Ministry of Defense, received harsh criticism from the Court of Audit. According to the court, the Ministry of Defense is using all its money allocated to train fighter jet pilots on missions in Iraq.