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Two Canadian Forces CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft along with 65 Canadian air force personnel are deploying to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily, this month to participate in Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s ongoing Mediterranean maritime anti-terrorism program.

The two aircraft, according to a Canadian Force press release, will deploy through mid-December as part of Operation Sirius, Canada’s portion of Active Endeavour.

The aircraft will be involved in the monitoring, surveillance, tracking and querying of “ships of interest.”

Operation Active Endeavour kicked off in October 2001 in the eastern Mediterranean, and in March 2004 expanded to include the entire Mediterranean. Participating units have also twice escorted shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar.

“Canada is committed to NATO and the campaign against terrorism,” said Defense Minister Bill Graham. “Operation Sirius will make an important contribution to safety in the Mediterranean Sea.”

Canadian Forces Aurora aircraft also participated in anti-terrorism patrols in the Persian Gulf from fall 2001 to summer 2003, flying about 500 operational missions.

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