Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands have joined the US, Arab allies and other European countries and over the last day have started the fight against the Islamic State from the air over the last day.
Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornets conducted their first armed combat flights over Iraq on Sunday (October 5) as part of a US-led coalition to fight against Islamic State militants, Australian authorities said.
Footage from Australia's Department of Defense showed crews boarding planes in United Arab Emirates and during flights in air.
The aircraft completed missions while flying over northern Iraq but did not fire any weapons, the Australian Department of Defense said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday (October 3) that Australian special forces troops would be deployed in Iraq to assist in the fight against Islamic State militants, and its aircraft will also join US-led coalition strikes.
The United States has been bombing Islamic State and other groups in Syria for almost two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in neighboring Iraq since August. European countries have joined the campaign in Iraq but not in Syria.
Last month, Abbott sent aircraft and 600 personnel to the United Arab Emirates in preparation for joining the coalition. He has since said it was likely Australian aircraft would join the strikes to combat Islamic State, which he described as a "murderous death cult".
While the involvement of Australian aircraft had been flagged, the use of Australian troops on the ground in Iraq was not as widely anticipated.
Abbott said the cabinet has authorized the deployment of Australian special forces into Iraq to advise and assist Iraqi forces, subject to legal documentation.
The Australian contingent in the UAE is made up of eight Super Hornet fighter jets, an early warning and control aircraft, an aerial refueling aircraft, along with 400 air force personnel and 200 special force soldiers.
The Netherlands and Belgium
Belgium's Defense Ministry said on Sunday that an F-16 fighter jet carried out the country's first bombing raid in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq, AFP reported.
Two Belgian jets were flying their maiden reconnaissance missions over Iraq on Sunday when they were called to action, according to the report. Belgium has contributed six F-16 bombers to the campaign against Islamic State.
"After the positive identification of a terrorist element attacking Iraqi security forces", one of the war planes was asked to launch an air strike, the ministry said.
"The Belgian aircraft intervened with a GPS-guided bomb, resulting in the immediate neutralization of the enemy threat," AFP quoted it as saying. Belgium has contributed six F-16 bombers to the campaign against Islamic State.
Joining Australia and Belgium, Dutch F-16 fighter bombers also began flights over Iraq on Sunday and the defense ministry in the Hague said the Netherlands was ready to join the campaign, AFP reported.