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Australia To Assist Forces Fighting Islamic State In Iraq

Australia says it will fly military equipment and aid into Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS) militants.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement on August 31: "The United States government has requested that Australia help to transport stores of military equipment, including arms and munitions, as part of a multi-nation effort."

Abbott said his country will join Canada, Italy, France, Britain, and the United "to conduct this important task."

Australian military aircraft had previously made humanitarian air drops, including food and water to thousands of people stranded by fighting on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.

Abbott said Australia would continue to work with international partners to "address the security threat" posed by the militants.

The Australian government estimates that 60 Australian citizens are fighting for the IS and another Al-Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa