Australian PM in Baghdad to talk fight against Islamic State

Iraqi security officers stand guard in Baghdad on December 21, 2014.
Iraqi security officers stand guard in Baghdad on December 21, 2014. Sabah Arar / AFP / Getty Images

BAGHDAD – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrived in Baghdad on Sunday to discuss ways his country can boost Iraqi security forces in their fight against the Islamic State group.

Abbott and his Iraqi counterpart, Haider al-Abadi, discussed military co-operation between the two countries, including the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, said Iraqi state television.

READ MORE: Majority of Canadians support use of troops to stop ISIS: poll

The Iraqi army collapsed last summer in the face of a lightning Islamic State group blitz that left about a third of Iraq and Syria in militant hands.

Australian fighter jets are launching airstrikes against Islamic State group targets in northern Iraq as part of a U.S.-led coalition and 200 Australian special forces troops will soon enter Iraq to advise and assist local security forces.

Story continues below advertisement

In Sunday’s violence, police said mortar shells slammed into several houses in the Shiite village of Sabaa al-Bour, about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding seven.

Elsewhere, a bomb blast on a commercial street killed two people and wounded six others in western Baghdad.

Medical officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.