Australian special forces troops will be deployed in Iraq to assist in the fight against Islamic State militants, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday, and its aircraft will also join U.S.-led coalition strikes.

Abbott said in a nationally televised news conference the Australian troops would be engaged in an “advise and assist” capacity to support the Iraqi army in their battle against the militant Islamist group.

The United States has been bombing Islamic State and other groups in Syria for almost two weeks with the help of Arab allies, and hitting targets in neighboring Iraq since August. […]