Date :Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 | Time : 22:44 |ID: 17669 | Print

Australian warplanes likely to get immediate approval for Iraq strikes

SHAFAQNA – The government is expected to immediately approve Australian warplanes joining airstrikes in northern Iraq. Tony Abbott will be in Canberra on Friday, where he is tipped to give the green light to bombing missions targeting Islamic State (Isis) militants.

A RAAF Wedgetail surveillance aircraft and a refueller have flown missions over Iraq, but Super Hornets remain on standby pending approval for bombing raids against Isis targets.

It is understood the national security committee of cabinet will meet on Friday morning.

The ABC said the decision would involve only the RAAF Super Hornetsand not the use of special forces.

The deputy opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, repeated on Friday that Labor backed the involvement so far, but would not get behind “boots on the ground”.

“No, we don’t support Australian troops on the ground in Iraq,” she told Network Nine on Friday morning.

Plibersek said Labor supported answering the Iraqi government’s plea for international help in protecting civilians from harm.

“[Isis] is an organisation that kills anyone that disagrees with it,” she said.

“They’re abducting women, raping, selling women and children in the market place.

“It’s a terrible organisation and the government of Iraq has asked the international community for help. And we’re responding to that plea.”

Liberal frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull said the fight ahead might require troops on the ground in the future.

“Well, it may well do, but as you can see from president Obama’s lead and what our prime minister has said, the boots on the ground are not going to be American or Australian boots,” he said.

But when asked if this stance could change, Turnbull left the door open.

“If anyone was going to make a forecast like that, it should be the prime minister.”

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