- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 30, 2016

PRAGUE (AP) - The Czech government has approved a Defense Ministry plan to send up to 35 instructors to Iraq to train pilots for Czech-made planes.

Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky says they should be deployed in June and stay till the end of 2018.

The initiative is part of international efforts to help Iraq fight Islamic State militants.

The government gave a green light Wednesday but the deployment still has to be approved by Parliament.

The Czechs have agreed to sell 15 Czech-made L-159 light combat planes to Iraq. The sale can go ahead after Britain dropped its objection.

The Czechs have already trained four Iraqi plane pilots and dozens of helicopter pilots in the Czech Republic. They have also given the Iraqi army weapons, ammunition, grenades and anti-tank grenade launchers.

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