German minister in Iraq for talks with Kurds

German minister in Iraq for talks with Kurds

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany's defense minister is in northern Iraq to talk with Kurdish leaders about the fight against Islamic State extremists and Berlin's efforts to help with arms deliveries.

The dpa news agency reported that Ursula von der Leyen landed Thursday in Irbil, where she was to meet with the president of Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani.

Germany began delivering arms to the Kurds on Thursday, dispatching a shipment of 50 hand-held anti-tank weapons, 520 G3 rifles and 20 machine guns.

In total, the German plan calls for arming 10,000 Kurdish fighters with some 70 million euros ($90 million) worth of equipment.

Germany is also sending some 40 paratroopers to help train the fighters on the weapons. Separately, some 30 Kurds will train on more complex systems in Germany.

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