BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government's taboo-breaking decision to send arms to Kurds fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq, calling the group a major security threat to both Germany and Europe.

"The far-reaching destabilization of an entire region affects Germany and Europe," Merkel said in a speech to parliament on Monday, a day after Berlin published a list of weapons, including machine guns and hand grenades, that it will send to the region.

"Ladies and gentlemen, when terrorists take control of a vast territory to give themselves and other fanatics a base for their acts of terror, then the danger rises for us, then our security interests are affected," she added.

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