Australia said Thursday that the intensity of its fight against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, in Iraq and Syria will remain unchanged despite the United States’ request to boost efforts. The U.S. reportedly urged 40 countries to increase its military actions against ISIS following the Paris attacks in November that killed 130 people.
Australia, a staunch ally of the U.S., has been one of the largest contributors to the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The news of Australia’s resistance comes ahead of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first visit to Washington as Australia's leader next week.
"Australia has considered the request from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in light of the substantial contributions we are already making to train Iraqi security forces and to the air campaign," Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne reportedly said, in a statement. “The Government has advised Secretary Carter that our existing contributions will continue."
Payne's office also said in the statement that the 40 countries included European nations that were asked "to consider expanded contributions" to the U.S.-led coalition fighting in the Middle East after ISIS claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks on cafes, restaurants, a sports stadium and a music hall in Paris.
In late 2014, Australia reportedly committed Super Hornet fighter jets, as well as support aircraft and a 600-strong group of air force personnel and special forces soldiers to fight ISIS in Iraq. The mission was later expanded to Syria last year, Reuters reported.
Since it began fighting ISIS, Australia has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown radicals and other ISIS supporters in the country.