SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – Australian war planes will deliver arms and munitions to Kurdish fighters battling Islamic state militants in Iraq.
The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has agreed to a United States government request for Australia to transport military equipment on the Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft.
“Australia will join international partners to help the anti-ISIL forces in Iraq,” Abbott said in a statement.
The move follows RAAF airdrops of humanitarian supplies to thousands of people stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.
“The situation in Iraq represents a humanitarian catastrophe,” Abbott said.
He remains in close contact with the US and other allies.
Australian planes will fly alongside aircraft from Canada, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Iraq government and other regional countries will coordinate Australia’s contribution.
The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, declined to comment on reports Australia could also be asked to consider deploying Super Hornets for air strikes.
The US had not made that request. “We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,” he told Sky News.
However, the government was looking at Australia’s military capability across a range of areas and would consider other requests. Defining the mission and the objective was critical, Morrison said.
“Let’s not kid ourselves either, [the Islamic state] does present a threat. What we’re seeing there is evil incarnate,” he said.