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Germany turns down US request for more military engagement in anti-IS coalition

Germany's defense minister has refused a US request for enhanced military engagement in the coalition against the "Islamic State." Her comments echo those of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told broadcaster ARD on Tuesday that Germany would not consider a US request to increase its military support to the anti-IS coalition.

Last week, "Der Spiegel" reported that US Defense Secretary Ash Carter had sent a letter to more than a dozen countries requesting they up their support to the US-led coalition.

However, Leyen said she would tell Carter that Germany supports the United States, but is already contributing enough to multiple missions against extremism across the globe.

Her comments echo those of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Sunday said she believed Germany was doing its part and right now was not the time to bring up new requests.

Germany is deploying reconnaissance aircraft and a refueling aircraft to support missions in Syria, as well as a frigate attached to the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The deployments come with as many as 1,200 support troops.

Germany is also set to increase its commitment to the UN and French peace mission in Mali in response to a French request as it transfers forces to fight IS following the terror attacks in Paris. That deployment could see as many as 650 German troops stationed in northern Mali.

Meanwhile, Von der Leyen said that Germany would continue its training and support mission in northern Iraq to Kurdish peshmerga (pictured training on an anti-tank missile), which she described as some of the best fighters against IS.

Germany is also contributing to the NATO train and assist mission in Afghanistan.

Watch video 02:22

'We have to intensify the fight against IS'

cw/rc (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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