January 6, 2015

US gives Iraq army 250 mine-resistant armoured vehicles

US gives Iraq army 250 mine-resistant armoured vehicles

Joint Military Task Force (JTF) patroling the streets of the restive northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri, Borno State. AFP photos

The United States has donated 250 mine-resistant, armour-protected vehicles (MRAPs) to the Iraqi army for use in its campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group, US ambassador Stuart Jones said Tuesday.

“The number one threat to the Iraqi security forces are roadside bombs and vehicle-borne bombs,” said Jones, whose country is leading a multinational coalition in air strikes on IS in both Iraq and Syria.

“These vehicles will save Iraqi lives and enable Iraqi security forces to win the fight” against IS, he said in a statement.

The statement did not give the cost of the MRAPs, or say when they were to be delivered, but did say Washington gave Iraq $300 million in weapons, materiel and training last year.

This included 12,000 sets of body armour, Kevlar helmets and medical kits, as well as counter-IED (homemade bomb) equipment, and included vehicle maintenance, and tank and helicopter maintenance training.

The United States will also deliver 10,000 M16A2 assault rifles to the army early this year.

The military aid comes under the strategic framework agreement between the two countries.