This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

America is sending missiles and drones to Iraq

The weapons were shipped on the back of increased Al-Qaeda violence.

An Iraqi man inspects a minibus damaged in a car bomb attack in Baghdad earlier this month.
An Iraqi man inspects a minibus damaged in a car bomb attack in Baghdad earlier this month.
Image: Karim Kadim/AP/Press Association Images

THE UNITED STATES is sending Iraq dozens of missiles and surveillance drones to help combat a recent surge there in Al-Qaeda-backed violence, a State Department official said today.

The official confirmed a New York Times report about the weapons shipment. The daily said 75 Hellfire missiles were purchased by Iraq and delivered by Washington last week.

The State Department official confirmed the “recent delivery” of Hellfire missiles and an “upcoming delivery of Scan Eagles” – reconnaissance drones that are a smaller version of the larger Predator drones that once were frequently flown over Iraq.

“The United States is committed to supporting Iraq in its fight against terrorism,” the official added, saying that the effort aims “to strengthen their capabilities to combat this threat.”

The official added: “We remain committed to supporting the government of Iraq in meeting its defense needs in the face of these challenges.”

Officials in Washington said the support is being sent under the “strategic framework agreement” between Iraq and the United States.

Administration sources told the Times that the weapons delivery comes as the Iraqis had virtually run out of Hellfire missiles.

The weapons shipments are being delivered as Baghdad confronts the worst wave of Islamic militant violence in half a decade.

Yesterday, at least 44 people were killed in attacks across the country, including the bombing of a market near a church in Baghdad.

The country is seeing the worst violence since 2008, when it was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings.

Militants frequently attack places where crowds gather, including markets, cafes and mosques, in an effort to cause maximum casualties.

Experts say widespread discontent among Iraq’s minority Sunni Arab community is a major factor fueling the surge in unrest.

More than 6,700 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2013, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

© AFP 2013

IN PICTURES: Over 100,000 dead as Syria sees another year of violence

More: Car bomb targeting Christmas mass in Baghdad leaves 17 dead

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

About the author:


Read next: