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Prime Minister John Key on Anzac & Iraq Deployment

Post cabinet press Conference on Anzac & Iraq Deployment

In a press conference held this morning in Wellington, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott referred to the Australian and New Zealand troops to be deployed in Iraq as “The splendid sons of Anzac.”

Prime Minister John Key explained Abbott’s the use of the term “Anzac” as meaning an implication of New Zealanders and Australians working together, rather than an Anzac labelled combined defence force.

At his post-cabinet press conference this afternoon, Key said he was “not advised on operational movements” with regard to when our troops would be deployed, but estimated it would be sometime in May.

Key said that there is an estimated five New Zealanders fighting for ISIL who are likely based in Syria.

He also said the SIS had advised him not to talk about the route these “foreign fighters” had taken into Syria because it encourages and informs people how to do it.

Australia has confirmed that Turkey has been the primary route into Syria for Australian foreign fighters.

Despite the arrest of an 18-year-old Melbourne man for allegedly planning an Anzac day terrorist attack, Key does not think that New Zealanders should be deterred from attending any Anzac events.

“There is always an increased risk when you have these sort of public events” Key said, but noted that he had not received any specific advice of any potential threat to New Zealanders at this stage.

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