Saturday 1 October 2016

German parliament votes to join military effort

Elsbeth Kramer in Munich

Published 05/12/2015 | 02:30

A photographer takes pictures of a Tornado aircraft of the Tactical Air Force Wing 51 'Immelmann' during a presentation at German army Bundeswehr airbase in Jagel near the German-Danish border. Photo: Reuters
A photographer takes pictures of a Tornado aircraft of the Tactical Air Force Wing 51 'Immelmann' during a presentation at German army Bundeswehr airbase in Jagel near the German-Danish border. Photo: Reuters

Germany's lower house of parliament yesterday approved government plans to join the military campaign against Isil in Syria.

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Of the 598 politicians who took part in the vote, 445 voted for, 146 against and seven abstained.

The mission will include sending six Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate to help protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, refuelling aircraft and up to 1,200 military personnel.

Germany will not join countries like Britain, France, the United States and Russia in conducting air strikes.

The green light for the mission that could become Germany's biggest deployment abroad comes three weeks after jihadists killed 130 people in a series of attacks in Paris.

The atrocities prompted France to invoke a clause requiring EU states to provide military assistance to wipe out Isil in Iraq and Syria.

Britain joined the US-led bombing campaign over Syria on Thursday.

And in the Netherlands, which has been bombarding Isil in Iraq, the government is coming under pressure to widen the aerial campaign to Syria.

Even in Germany, where there has traditionally been reluctance to engage in military missions abroad, the government's decision to take direct action in Syria has been largely met with support.

An opinion poll in 'Die Welt' newspaper yesterday showed broad public backing of 58pc of people surveyed in favour of the military deployment while 37pc were against.

The support came despite a large majority of 63pc believing that the risk of a terror attack on German soil will rise as a result of Bundeswehr involvement in Syria.

Meanwhile, François Hollande, the French president, yesterday visited the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean off Syria where it is being used to conduct air strikes on Isil targets.

Irish Independent

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