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Australia sends aircraft to support US-led airstrikes in Iraq

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Australia sends aircraft to support US-led airstrikes in Iraq


Australia has announced it will send two air force planes to support the US-led military coalition in Iraq.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the planes would be carrying out surveillance and would not yet launch airstrikes. He added they were waiting for clearance from the Iraqi government and would then decide whether to join air strikes against Islamic State militants.

“Because ISIL has global ambitions, our international security and our national security are indivisible. At all times though, the government will respond in a prudent and proportionate way,” Abbot told parliament.

On Tuesday, Britain dropped bombs on ISIL targets in northern Iraq for the first time, which are understood to have killed a number of fighters. Officials said the attacks were in support of Kurdish forces fighting the jihadists

Kurdish Peshmerga troops have been battling ISIL on three fronts: close to the Syrian border, north of Mosul and south of the key oil hub Kirkuk.

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