A Canadian Forces plane has delivered Albanian military equipment to Iraqi forces battling extremist Islamic State fighters – a mission revealed by the Prime Minister's Office as Canada pledged new humanitarian aid in Iraq.
The Canadian CC-177 Globemaster landed in Iraq on Thursday night after being deployed to the region as part of what the Canadian military is calling "Operation IMPACT," part of an international effort to equip those battling Islamic State rebels.
"Left unchecked, ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] is a threat not only to peace and security in the region, but to global security as well," Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office said in a written statement.
It didn't specify what type of Albanian weaponry was delivered, but it said Canada also deployed one CC-130 Hercules transport plane to the region.
Meanwhile, Canada's minister responsible for foreign aid announced on Friday that Canada would send new humanitarian supplies, such as hygiene products and cooking equipment, to Iraq while setting up a new warehouse for such supplies in nearby Dubai.
Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development, made the announcement at the Red Cross in Ottawa on Friday morning, posing next to boxes of aid set to be deployed. He announced the deployment of those supplies, which will be handed out by Save the Children, but offered no timeline.
"We are monitoring the situation very closely to see what we can do on the short, medium and long term," the minister said, adding the supplies are needed for those fleeing Islamic State's "murderous rampage."
So far this year, Canada has pledged $11.8-million in humanitarian aid for those displaced by fighting in Iraq, including the $5-million announced earlier this month. Mr. Paradis defended the government's response to date, saying Canada can't pledge too much aid initially without ensuring where it will go.
"There is an absorption capacity we have to deal with. We are dealing with people being persecuted in a very difficult area… we have to be very careful in this to make sure the aid falls into the appropriate hands," he told reporters.
Canada typically keeps a stockpile of humanitarian goods – designed to meet the needs of 25,000 people for three months – in a warehouse in Mississauga, though Mr. Paradis announced Friday that a second Canadian warehouse had been established in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to "allow Canada to respond more rapidly and efficiently to events in Africa and Asia." The latest supplies bound for Iraq will be sent through the Dubai warehouse.
Mr. Paradis also announced how Canada would spend the remainder of $5-million in Iraqi aid that it announced Aug. 10. With that announcement, that funding will be split up among four groups. A total of $1.75-million will be given to the International Committee of the Red Cross, $1.25-million to Save the Children Canada, $1-million to Mercy Corps and $1-million to Development and Peace.