The Norwegian Government is reportedly planning to make a military contribution to the US-led coalition that is fighting against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.

Speaking ahead of an international conference for peace and security in Iraq held in France, Norwegian foreign minister Boerge Brende confirmed to the Verdens Gang newspaper that the country has received a formal request from the US for participation in the coalition.

"We will consider the request carefully and consult parliament before we make a decision."

"From the Norwegian side, we have prioritised humanitarian assistance and military capacity in the form of a Hercules aircraft in providing relief.

"Norway is considering whether to provide military capacity-building in Iraq. It may, for example, be about training.

"We will consider the request carefully and consult parliament before we make a decision."

However, Norway will not supply military material and will not provide air or land support in any offensive against the group, which has seized several cities in northern Iraq and Syria in recent months.

During the conference, representatives from nearly 30 European, Arabic and Gulf countries agreed to provide ‘all necessary means’, including military, to support the Iraqi Government in the fight against IS.

Last week, US President Barack Obama announced a strategy to build an international collation to defeat IS, previously called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Meanwhile, the US military has stepped up the anti-IS campaign in the past 24 hours with air strikes near Mount Sinjar and south-west of Baghdad.

The US Central Command said in a statement: "The air strike south-west of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit ISIL targets … as outlined in the President’s speech last Wednesday.

"In total, the strikes destroyed six ISIL vehicles near Sinjar and an ISIL fighting position south-west of Baghdad that was firing on ISF personnel."

Since early August, the US has conducted a total of 162 air strikes across Iraq.

In a related development, France has started reconnaissance flights over Iraq in support of the US air campaign.

Defence Technology