Sweden will participate in NATO operations over Libya with eight fighter jets, a Hercules transport plane and a reconnaissance aircraft. The Swedish government informed the Swedish parliament about this at lunchtime on Tuesday.

It is the first time in fifty years that Swedish warplanes will be used in a war. The last time was in 1961, when a Swedish air force supported the then UN force in Congo. The Swedish participation means the baptism of fire for the Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet.

125 Swedish soldiers are deployed with the ten aircraft. It is not yet known from which country they will operate. Sweden has been cooperating with NATO for years in Afghanistan, where Swedish ground troops are stationed. The government decision still has to be formally ratified by parliament, but there seems to be a majority in favor of participation. | © 2011 Marcel Burger for ANP News Agency (previously unpublished)