FRANKFURT - Germany could send 1,200 soldiers to the Middle East by the end of the year to provide service support to planes and ships of a coalition battling Islamic State, Germany's top defense official told a newspaper on Sunday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to support the offensive against Islamic State during recent talks with French President Francois Hollande, who called for more countries to help fight the militants after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.
The plan, which still needs approval from parliament and was outlined by Germany's Chief of Defense Volker Wieker in the Bild am Sonntag, did not include direct involvement in the coalition's air offensive.
In Germany, the public still dislikes sending forces overseas except for in peace missions, in part due to memories of Nazi militarism.
A German frigate would accompany France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, whose planes will refuel the jets of coalition, Wieker said in the interview.
"From a military point of view for the servicing of the planes and ships, about 1,200 soldiers would be necessary," Wieker told the newspaper.