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First German shipment leaves for Iraqi Kurds

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First German shipment leaves for Iraqi Kurds
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in position during fighting against Isis in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA
15:55 CEST+02:00
The first shipment of German supplies has been sent on its way to support Kurdish forces in Northern Iraq, a Joint Operations Command spokesman said on Thursday.

The military equipment travelled from Waren an der Müritz to Leipzig Thursday morning and was loaded onto an Antonov aircraft that will depart during the night for Erbil, the seat of the Kurdish government.

The plane will first land in Baghdad where the cargo will undergo an inspection in a concession to the Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi to show that Germany is not conducting a separate foreign policy towards the Kurds.

Shiites, Kurds and Sunni leaders are currently in negotiations as to how to best form a new government in Iraq.

The German military had already sent out humanitarian aid in August to displaced people in northern Iraq. The stop in Baghdad was not required on that occasion.

Combat helmets, body armour and equipment for mine detection have also been delivered to assist in the fight against terrorist Islamic group Isis.

A date has not yet been set for the delivery of German weapons into the combat zone, though officials say it will happen in September.

Germany has already sent six soldiers to Kurdish territory to oversee the distribution of the aid deliveries. 

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday evening that the ideological ambitions of Isis "go far beyond their current holdings in Iraq." He fears the group will soon go after Saudia Arabia as well as Jordan.

The Sunni militia has tens of thousands of armed fighters and currently control a region the size of the United Kingdom, according to Matthew Olson, a senior US counter-terrorism official.

He estimated that the group is making €750,000 a day from selling oil produced in captured territories and ransoms. 

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