Norway to send 120 soldiers to Iraq to help train army

OSLO - The Norwegian government said Thursday it would send about 120 troops to Iraq to help train its armed forces in the fight against the Islamic State jihadists.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg however stressed that "the Norwegian military will not follow the Iraqi soldiers into battle."

Solberg also told reporters that "diplomatic and humanitarian means are important but military means are also important" in the battle against IS militants.

Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said half of the Norwegian contingent will travel to Baghdad, where it will have an advisory role and support Iraqi security forces.

The other half will be in Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, where it will be stationed at a training centre, she said.

The deployment is planned for a period of one year "with the possibility of extension," she added.

The centre-right minority government's decision received the support of several other parties, including the main opposition Labour Party.