World and Nation

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Germany to arm Kurds battling Islamic State

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers Monday that her government had decided to break with a taboo on delivering weapons to conflict zones because Germany and all of Europe faced a security threat from the extremists of the Islamic State.

Merkel and top ministers decided Sunday to deliver thousands of machine guns, as well as antitank missiles and armored vehicles to Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State in northern Iraq.

The deliveries — from existing German army stocks, and worth an estimated 70 million euros, or almost $92 million — will take place in stages in the coming weeks, the Defense Ministry said.

On what was the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, Merkel went before Parliament on Monday to justify the arms decision.

She evoked scenes of mass terrorism and killing in the Middle East and said of the Islamic State, “Anything which does not conform to their view of the world they simply expunge from the scene.”

In sum, she said, “A religion is being abused in the most terrible way.”

She added, “The far-reaching destabilization of a whole region affects Germany, and Europe.”

Before going into detail on Iraq, she recalled that Nazi Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, starting a war which, together with Nazi crimes, caused millions to die.

“We Germans will never forget this,” and it has underpinned post-1945 Germany’s reluctance to enter into conflict, she said.

But in the case of the Islamic State, she argued, her government believed it had to make an exception.

The parliamentary debate on the weapons deliveries was symbolic, since the government can decide to deliver arms where it wishes without the authorization of legislators.

In a nonbinding vote, lawmakers overwhelmingly backed the government.

—Alison Smale, The New York Times

Militants claim responsibility for deadly attack on Somali prison

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An attack by members of the militant group al-Shabab on a government detention center in Mogadishu on Sunday left at least 12 people dead, including seven attackers, officials said.

The attack, which lasted 45 minutes, struck a prison known as Godka Jilacow around 11:40 a.m. as members of the militant group tried to fight their way inside, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Information.

The prison is controlled by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency.

Somalia’s information minister, Mustaf Duhulow, said in a statement that the attackers aimed to force their way into the prison and “free their comrades” who were being held there.

Three members of the security forces and two passers-by were also killed in the attack, the statement said.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Somali and the African Union forces in Somalia have launched an offensive to push al-Shabab out of the towns in the Middle and Lower Shabelle regions of central and southern Somalia.

On Saturday, the Somali and the African Union forces said that they had taken over the Shabab stronghold of Bulomarer, about 70 miles south of Mogadishu, which is the nation’s capital.

—Mohammed Ibrahim, The New York Times