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Canadian Armed Forces team to leave for Iraq next week

QMI Agency

Canada's Defence Minister Rob Nicholson speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 7, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Canada's Defence Minister Rob Nicholson speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa October 7, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

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About 120 Canadian Armed Forces members will join the fight against ISIS next week, the government announced Saturday.

"The deployment of the Theatre Activation Team is a key step in arranging the initial preparations for the CAF units that will deploy in support of Operation IMPACT," Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said Saturday.

The team, comprising members from across the country, will depart from Trenton, Ont., next week.

Earlier this week, the House of Commons voted in favour of an air combat mission in Iraq. The mission will see six CF-18s sent to war-torn Iraq to help protect civilians from the brutality of ISIS fighters. Up to 600 supporting crew members will also be sent, along with two surveillance aircraft and a refuelling tanker.

Islamic State, as it now calls itself, is an extremist Sunni Muslim group commonly referred to by its former acronyms ISIS and ISIL. It is trying to establish its own state in eastern Iraq and parts of Syria.

The last time the Conservative government sent Canadian personnel into combat was in Libya in 2011. Both the NDP and the Liberals voted with the government in favour of that mission.

-- with files from David Akin

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