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Canadian relief supplies going to Iraq, RCAF flies in donated weaponry

Minister of International Development Christian Paradis speaks at a press conference to announce the deployment of relief supplies from Canada's emergency stockpile to conflict affected people in northern Iraq at the Canadian Red Cross national office in Ottawa on Friday, August 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle

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Minister of International Development Christian Paradis speaks at a press conference to announce the deployment of relief supplies from Canada's emergency stockpile to conflict affected people in northern Iraq at the Canadian Red Cross national office in Ottawa on Friday, August 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle

OTTAWA - Canada is sending relief supplies to Iraq from a newly established warehouse in Dubai.

International Development Minister Christian Paradis says the Dubai stockpile includes including tents, blankets, kitchen sets, hygiene kits and jerry cans.

"We are dealing with persecuted religious minorities," Paradis said. "There are very, very basic needs to be addressed."

So far this year, Canada has earmarked $21 million for humanitarian needs in Iraq.

The Harper government also says that a Canadian Forces C-177 transport plane has completed its first delivery of military equipment to Iraq, landing with cargo donated by Albania.

The flight was part of an international effort to supply Iraqi security forces with small arms and ammunition to support the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Paradis says the decision to locate an emergency warehouse in Dubai allows a faster response to events in Asia and Africa.

"Canada's emergency relief stockpiles of basic, lifesaving necessities can be shipped around the world at any time," he said in a release.

"In times of crisis, rapid delivery of basic supplies can be a matter of life and death."

Paradis said Canadian officials will continue to monitor the situation and assess the security and humanitarian challenges in Iraq.

In addition to the C-177, the biggest plane in the RCAF fleet, Canada has also deployed a C-130J Hercules transport to the region to support the weapons delivery effort.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier this month that Canadian aircraft would help transport military supplies to Iraq, although Canada would not contribute weapons or ammunition.

"Canada is taking action with the government of Iraq to counter ISIL's barbaric activities and expansionist agenda which are further destabilizing the region and posing a very real threat to global security," Harper said in a statement Friday.

"The air support we are providing will ensure security forces on the ground have the weapons they need to defend innocent Iraqi civilians against these terrorists."

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