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France to deliver first aid equipment to Iraq 'in coming hours'

© AFP/File | Iraqi Yazidi children who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar with their family, stand at a school where they are taking shelter in the Kurdish city of Dohuk, Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, on August 5, 2014Iraqi Yazidi children who fled the violence in the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar with their family, stand at a school where they are taking shelter in the Kurdish city of Dohuk, Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, on August 5, 2014

France will begin delivery of first aid equipment to Iraq "in the coming hours", the president's office said on Saturday.

President Francois Hollande assured the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, by phone that the aid was on its way, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

Hollande "reaffirmed the will of France to stand by the side of civilian victims of continued attacks" by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, the Elysee said.

He also "underlined his determination to mobilise the international community and said he had asked the European Union to take necessary measures with great urgency to respond to immediate humanitarian needs."

The UN Security Council on Thursday called on the international community to support the Iraqi government as it tries to counter the sweeping gains made by IS in the north of the country.

Hollande echoed statements from US President Barack Obama that the crisis required political solutions, saying there was an urgent need for "a government of national unity" to be established in Iraq.