10/07/2014 11:53 EDT | Updated 12/07/2014 05:59 EST

ISIS mission: MPs approve air combat mission

A divided House of Commons voted Tuesday in favour of sending Canadian aircraft and personnel to join coalition airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria targets.

"We do not take this step lightly. The threat posed by [ISIS] is real," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement released shortly after the  motion passed by 157 votes to 134.

"If left unchecked this terrorist organization will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target."

Six CF-18 fighter-bombers, two CP-140 surveillance planes, one aerial tanker aircraft and 600 personnel have been tapped to join coalition airstrikes in Iraq for up to six months, pursuant to the motion before the Commons.

Harper stressed Canadian troops would not be involved in ground combat.

Green Party MP Bruce Hyer and Brent Rathgeber, an Independent who used to sit with the Conservatives, voted with the government.

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler abstained from the vote. The longtime MP released a statement explaining that he feels the government motion is unclear on Canada's involvement and did not share enough information for MPs to make an informed choice.

The NDP had proposed an amendment to overhaul the motion entirely and switch the focus to supplying arms to local fighters battling ISIS and increasing humanitarian support.

It was not adopted by the House with 134 votes for and 157 votes against.

There is no requirement for the House of Commons to approve combat missions, but Harper promised this mission would be put up for debate when he first floated the idea of a new military role in Iraq.