Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin said there were “no reports” an Australian military transport plane came under fire while attempting to deliver aid packages as part of a humanitarian mission in northern Iraq.
Air Chief Binskin this morning tweeted, “Ground fire not directed at an aircraft is not unusual in a war zone.”
PM Tony Abbott said there may have been shots fired on the ground near to where the aircraft was flying, “But I’m not advised that they came under direct fire themselves,” he said.
No reports RAAF C130 came under fire over Iraq on Sunday. Ground fire not directed at an aircraft is not unusual in a war zone
— Mark Binskin (@MarkBinskin_CDF) September 1, 2014
The C-130 Hercules reportedly came under fire from Islamic State combatants equipped with machine guns and small arms during a night drop to civilians in the town of Amirli over the weekend, News Corp reported.
US fighter jets accompanying the mission were said to have provided top cover in response to the attack.
The humanitarian aid parcels being delivered contained 15 bundles of water, biscuits and hygiene packs.
In related news, an Australian C-17 transport carrier is anticipated to make delivery of the first shipment of weapons to Peshmerga fighters in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq within the next 24 hours.
In an interview with Sky News, Iraq’s ambassador to Australia said any weapons provided to Kurdish fighters should be delivered via the central government in Baghdad.
The Australian Government announced on Sunday that the RAAF will help several countries to deliver arms and other military equipment for use by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting Islamic State (Isis) militants in northern Iraq.
A spokesperson for Tony Abbott told The Guardian: “Consignments destined for Erbil in the Kurdish region of Iraq will first be taken to Baghdad for inspection by Iraqi government authorities. Our embassy in Baghdad is in direct contact with the Iraqi government to secure the necessary approvals.”
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