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Merkel to lawmakers: arming Kurdish fighters carries risks but in Germany's own interest

  • Germany Iraq Weapons-1.jpg

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech about planned military aid for Kurdish Peshmerga forces at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Germany will send high-end rifles, tank-busting weapons and armored vehicles to help Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (The Associated Press)

  • Germany Iraq Weapons-2.jpg

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a speech about planned military aid for Kurdish Peshmerga forces at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. Germany will send high-end rifles, tank-busting weapons and armored vehicles to help Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (The Associated Press)

Chancellor Angela Merkel has told German lawmakers that arming Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq wasn't an easy decision but is in her country's interest.

The government decided Sunday to deliver rifles, tank-busting weapons and armored vehicles to forces fighting the Islamic State group, breaking with Germany's previous reluctance to send weapons into conflicts.

Lawmakers were to hold a nonbinding vote Monday in a special session of parliament, which was recalled from its summer break.

Merkel said the decision was "very carefully weighed." She said officials faced a choice between "taking no risks, not delivering (weapons) and ultimately accepting the expansion of terror" or supporting those fighting the extremists.

Merkel said: "The immense suffering of many people cries out, and our own security interests are threatened."