German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her government’s controversial decision to send German weapons to Kurds fighting Islamic State (ISIL) militants in Iraq.
She said the group posed a major security threat to Germany and Europe.
“We faced a choice,” said Merkel, “not to take any risks, not to deliver and to accept the spread of terror; or to support those who are desperately but couragesly fighting the atrocious terror of ISIL with limited resources.”
Merkel said Germany had a duty to intervene in the conflict to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Iraq, citing evidence of ethnic cleansing by ISIL fighters.
The weapons will include assault rifles, anti-tank missile systems and rocket propelled grenade launchers, equipment used by the German military in Afghanistan.
Critics fear they could end up in the hands of jihadists.
Others worry that Germany, which has not experienced a major attack, could itself become a target.