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Bundeswehr

German weapons delivery heads to Iraqi Kurdistan

The first plane carrying German weapons to aid the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq has left the country. The arms delivery is intended to help in the fight against the militant "Islamic State" forces.

A military transport plane took off from Leipzig airport at 1:52 local time (2352 UTC) on Thursday bound for the Kurdish capital of Irbil, a Bundeswehr spokesman said. The weapons delivery had been scheduled to depart on Wednesday, but was delayed due to a defective aircraft.

On board the plane are 50 anti-tank rockets, 520 G3 assault rifles and 20 rifles and 20 heavy machine guns, as well as protective eyewear and medical equipment.

The arms are to be given to the Peshmerga forces from Iraq's northern autonomous Kurdish region.

The controversial delivery was agreed to by the government in August, in order to help combat "Islamic State" militants who control vast swathes of northern Iraq and Syria.

Further weapons deliveries are scheduled at the beginning of October.

Some 70 million euros ($89 million) worth of arms will be sent to the 10,000 Kurdish fighters in Iraq.

dr/crh (dpa, AFP)

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