November 20, 2015 / 9:29 AM / in 3 years

Germans split over joining combat missions against Islamic State: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germans are divided over whether the country’s armed forces should participate directly in combat missions against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, a poll showed on Friday.

Soldiers hold their weapons during a German army, the Bundeswehr, training and information day in Munster, Germany, October 9, 2015. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Some 52 percent said they were against the idea while 41 percent supported it, according to the survey by pollsters Infratest dimap for broadcaster ARD.

Germany is helping to train Kurdish security forces in Iraq but has not joined the United States and France in air strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria.

The poll of 1,000 respondents was carried out following last Friday’s militant attacks in France.

Germans have long felt that their opposition to the Iraq war and low-key involvement in Afghanistan meant they would not be targets for similar attacks.

But that security bubble was pricked by events in Paris, a shock compounded on Tuesday when authorities in the northern city of Hanover canceled a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands due to a specific security threat.

Citing a French intelligence document, the Hannoversche Allgemeine newspaper said authorities had been warned that a group of five people led by a German citizen planned to detonate five bombs, including three inside the stadium.

In the end, no arrests were made and no explosives found.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by John Stonestreet

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