Germany pledges to continue support for Iraq against Islamic State

Germany is prepared to lend more help to Iraq in its battle against Islamic State forces, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday in Baghdad.

"I can only say for Germany that we stand steadfastly by your side, because you are fighting the battle against terrorism for us," she said after talks with Iraqi leaders.

"We will continue to support you in the same way we have been."

Iraq is gearing up for a long-awaited campaign to recapture Mosul, the country's second-largest city, which has been under the control of extremist group Islamic State since mid-2014.

The German official discussed preparations for the Mosul battle with Iraqi President Fouad Massoum, a presidential statement said.

The German army has worked since January 2015 to train Peshmerga fighters of Iraq's autonomous region of Kurdistan, as well as soldiers pulled from the Yezidi religious minority community. More than 10,000 have been trained so far.

Peshmerga forces have also been the recipients of German weapons, including 1,200 anti-tank guided missiles, 400 bazookas, more than 20,000 assault rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition.

Germany has also supplied the Iraqi government with military helmets and outfits designed to provide protection in case of nuclear, chemical or biological attack. However, it has shared no weapons with the central government.

Germany has also supplied humanitarian and development aid to Iraq.

In recent months, Iraqi government forces, backed by US-led air power, have regained large areas of territory from Islamic State.

Last update: Thu, 22/09/2016 - 16:50

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