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Iraq Asks Australia To Step Up Military Assistance

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has asked Australia to step up military assistance, saying more weapons and faster training are needed for the fight against Islamic State militants.

Abadi met with visiting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on January 4.

Abadi's office said he "called on the Australian side to increase the arming and speed up the training and distribution of what is needed by the Iraqi forces to decide the battle and eliminate the [IS] organization."

The United States and other countries recently announced a program of accelerated training to help Iraqi forces battle Islamic State militants who have seized parts of northern and western Iraq.

Australian aircraft are participating in air strikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria, while some 200 Australian troops are expected to arrive in Iraq soon to participate in the security training.

Coalition officials said on January 4 that one of seven air strikes carried out in the previous 24 hours targeted Islamic State militant positions near Mosul, Iraq, while the others targeted positions near Kobani, Syria.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Iraqiya television, and Reuters