Czech fighters to protect Iceland's airspace

Prague, June 4 (IANS) The Czech government on Wednesday approved the decision to send five JAS-39 Gripen fighters to patrol Iceland's airspace for six weeks in July and August, Czech defence ministry spokesman Petr Medek said.

The Czech Republic will send 70 ground personnel to Iceland along with the five fighters, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the original plan, the airspace of Iceland was to be guarded by Canadian aircraft, but it will instead join the operation against the Islamic State (IS).

Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said the extraordinary deployment of Czech aircraft was based on an urgent request from NATO.

He said the Czech Republic was proving to the Allies its readiness to respond to new challenges and also indirectly contribute to the international community's fight against the IS.

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