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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

US gives 250 mine-resistant armored vehicles to Iraq

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 7, 2015 2:11PM

The United States has donated 250 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) to the Iraqi Army as it battles the ISIL terrorist organization, the US embassy announced.

'The number one threat to the Iraqi security forces are roadside bombs and vehicle-borne bombs,' US Ambassador Stuart Jones said in a statement Tuesday. 'These vehicles will save Iraqi lives and enable Iraqi security forces to win the fight' against ISIL.

The statement did not specify the cost of the armored vehicles, whose delivery was completed on Sunday.

Of the 250 vehicles, 25 went to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the rest were given to the Iraqi security forces, according to the Pentagon.

The vehicles were sent from Kuwait, where they had been sitting since the US pulled most of its troops and military equipment out of Iraq in 2011.

Last year, the US gave $300 million in military equipment, weapons and training to Iraq, and will also deliver six more Abrams tanks, 50 up-armored Humvees, and 10,000 M16A2 assault rifles this year.

In addition to military donations, the US State Department authorized Baghdad to purchase 175 M1 Abrams tanks and other vehicles worth $2.4 billion from the United States.

Many of the US-supplied firearms and vehicles fell into the hands of ISIL terrorists when they swept through northern and western Iraq in June.

US President Barack Obama has pledged 3,100 American troops to Iraq to "train and advise" the Iraqi Army.

Obama and other senior US officials maintain that US troops would not engage in direct combat with ISIL terrorists.

However, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren said Monday that the 320 US troops at Al Asad air base in western Iraq are now coming under 'regular' mortar and rocket attacks from ISIL militants.

While Warren insisted that no US personnel have been impacted, this was the first time the Pentagon acknowledged that American troops were in danger since deploying to Iraq late last year.

The US-led coalition has conducted more than 900 airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq since August 8 at an average cost of over $8 million a day, according to the Pentagon.


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