Australia and Germany confirm plans to arm Kurdish fighters in Iraq

1 September 2014 (Last Updated September 1st, 2014 18:30)

Australia and Germany have confirmed plans to supply weapons to Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State (IS) militants in northern-Iraq.

C-130

Australia and Germany have confirmed plans to supply weapons to Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State (IS) militants in northern-Iraq.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott had earlier announced that the country would transport arms and ammunition to Kurdish fighters on request from the US Government.

Tony Abott said: "Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft will join aircraft from other nations including Canada, Italy, France, the UK and the US to conduct this important task."

The Australian aircraft, carrying rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, are set to soon land in Kurdish-controlled regions, reported ABC News.

The German consignment, which will include G3 and G36 rifles, MG3 machine guns, grenades, Milan anti-tank systems and armoured vehicles, is expected to be flown to Irbil through Baghdad in three tranches from this month, BBC News reported.

The Australian aircraft have already conducted two humanitarian aid drops for Iraqi refugees stranded on Mount Sinjar and more recently in the northern-Iraq town of Amirl.

"The Australian aircraft, carrying rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, are set to soon land in Kurdish-controlled regions."

An Australian C-130 Hercules transport aircraft was reportedly attacked by IS militants during a humanitarian mission in Amirl over the weekend.

An unnamed source close to the US-led operation was quoted by news.com.au as saying: "It was the very first flight and the Americans flying top cover reported that small arms fire came up at the plane after it completed its pass.

"The fire was not observed by the Australian crew and they were unaware of it until they were informed later by the Americans."

Supported by Shi'ite militias and US airstrikes, Iraqi security forces have retaken Amerli from militants, breaking their two-month siege, and followed it up with the town of Sulaiman Bek.

Since June, IS militants have captured several cities and critical installations in northern-Iraq and neighbouring Syria.


Image: The Australian C-130 carrying rocket-propelled grenades and mortars will soon land in Iraq. Photo: courtesy of U. S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Sabrina Johnson.

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