PM Tony Abbott makes surprise visit to Iraq
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has made a surprise visit to troops serving in Iraq, telling them all Australians were immensely proud and grateful for their tireless work in protecting the nation.
Mr Abbott, who flew to Baghdad at the weekend, hosted a barbecue with Australian Defence Force personnel and told them he had planned to come visit them earlier to wish them a Merry Christmas, but the siege at Sydney's Lindt Cafe last month thwarted those plans.
"I am incredibly proud of you and your work," he said.
"I think every Australian is proud of you and your work.
"People will always argue with the policy of the government of the day, but I do not think any fair dinkum Australian questions the commitment, the professionalism and the courage of our armed forces, and everyone wants you to help the Iraqis to knock off ISIL."
Mr Abbott also met with Iraq Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, where he reaffirmed Australia's commitment to helping the nation in its fight against ISIL forces.
"This is an important struggle," he said.
"It is a struggle not just for the people of Iraq, and not just for the people of this region, but for the whole world because the ISIL death cult has declared war against the world."
Mr Abbott used his visit to announce an extra $5 million in aid to help the 5.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance across Iraq.
- APN NEWSDESK