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US sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-22 13:44

WASHINGTON - US Defense Department announced Thursday it is sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq to help Iraqi forces in fighting the Islamic State (IS).

The weapons will arrive as early as next week, the department spokesman Steve Warren said in a statement, adding that the US is also expediting the delivery of ammunition and other equipment in order to counter IS' increasing reliance on vehicle-borne bombs.

Over the last 30 days, the US also helped deliver coalition donations of 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and 12,000 mortar rounds to the Iraqi army, Warren said.

Since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's visit to Washington in April, the US has also delivered 250 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, 2,000 Hellfire missiles, 10,000 sets of body armor and helmets, and millions of rounds of ammunition, including small arms, tank artillery and anti-tank weapons.

The weapons are for the central government of Iraq to distribute to its army, as well as Kurdish and Sunni fighters, according to Warren.

The US has insisted that its strategy of bolstering a strong central government in Iraq, rather than sending arms directly to the Kurds and Sunnis, is the best course of action against IS.

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