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German cabinet extends its military involvement in Iraq by one year

German cabinet extends its military involvement in Iraq by one year

The German cabinet has decided to extend the country's military involvement in Iraq by one year.

The Bundeswehr soldiers (the unified army of Germany) are involved in the fight against the Islamic State extremist militia in both Syria and Iraq from a base in Jordan. They also advise the Iraqi government.

The German cabinet decided to extend the mandate beyond October 31, when a previous extension was due to run out.

The German parliament, or Bundestag, initially extended the Bundeswehr's mandate to allow it to train Kurdish Peshmerga forces and specialists from the Iraqi army.

The cabinet decided to end the use of Tornado fighter jets for reconnaissance missions in Syria and Iraq, and the air-to-air refuelling of international aircraft used by the coalition fighting Islamic State from October 31, 2019.

The current upper limit of 800 Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Jordan is to remain unchanged.

"In Syria and Iraq great successes have been recorded in the fight against the [Islamic State] terrorist organisation," the text of the cabinet decision reads.

It is believed that the Islamic State has now changed tactics after losing control of large swathes of territory, and is increasingly working from the underground and rebuilding its networks and structures. There are still several thousand combatants in Iraq and Syria willing to fight for Islamic State.

"In order to secure the military successes in the fight against [Islamic State] and to prevent the terrorist organisation from regaining strength, the continued suppression of the terrorist organisation by military means remains necessary," the text reads.

The new extension must now be approved by the Bundestag.

(With inputs from www.dpa-news.de)


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