US delivers Hellfire missiles, ammunition to Iraq

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Associated Press

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Updated Sunday, Mar 16 at 12:35 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — The United States delivered 100 Hellfire missiles, along with assault rifles and ammunition to Iraq as part of its anti-terrorism assistance to the country, the U.S. embassy to Iraq said on Sunday.

In a statement, it said the delivery was made earlier this month in order to help bolster Iraq forces fighting a breakaway al-Qaida group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

"It is essential that Iraqi Security Forces are equipped with modern and effective weaponry given the serious threat... the ISIL now poses to Iraq and the region," said the statement, which also promised to send more weapons to Iraq in the coming weeks.

It added that since mid-January, Iraqi security forces had received more than eleven million rounds of ammunition, as well as thousands of machine guns, sniper rifles, assault rifles, and grenades.

The Iraqi warplanes frequently fire Hellfire missiles at militant positions in the embattled western Anbar province.

Since late December, Iraq's western cities have seen fierce clashes pitting government security forces and their tribal Sunni militia allies against al-Qaida-linked militants and other insurgent groups. The insurgents hold the city of Fallujah and parts of Anbar's provincial capital, Ramadi.

Meanwhile, two police officials said a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a joint security patrol near Ramadi Sunday afternoon, killing three policemen and two soldiers.

Both officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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