U.S. service member volunteers push a completed pallet of food and water to prepare it for loading onto aircraft at a location in Southwest Asia Aug. 11, 2014. (AFP/US Air Force/Senior Airman Colin Cates)
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Australia's prime minister has held open the possibility of sending a combat force to Iraq in addition to military transport aircraft to airlift humanitarian aid to refugees trapped by insurgents in northern mountains, though the defense minister played down the prospect.Abbott was a minister in a previous conservative government that sent 2,000 combat troops to back the U.S. and British militaries in the 2003 Iraq invasion, triggering Australia's largest protests since the Vietnam War.Opposition leader Bill Shorten called for consistency from the government on the question of an Australian combat role. He said Abbott had not notified the opposition Labor Party, which opposed the 2003 Iraq War, that Australia intended to send troops to Iraq.
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