The United States has delivered a large cache of arms, including 100 Hellfire missiles along with M4 assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition to Iraq this month, reports AFP. The news was confirmed by the US Embassy in Baghdad by issuing a statement on its website. The bounty of arms is part of the US’ anti-terrorism assistance to Iraq. The AFP reports adds that the arms bounty has been offered to Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to counter the threat posed by a break-away faction of Al Qaeda, called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The US has confirmed that more than 11 million rounds of ammunition, thousands of machine guns, sniper rifles, M16s and M4 rifles, flares, grenades and other weapons have been delivered to the ISF since January this year. And it is not going to stop any time soon either. Similar deliveries are expected to happen in the next few weeks as well. The statement adds, “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.”
The reason for this increase in defense aid to Iraq is owing to the increase in clashes between Iraqi security forces, their Sunni militia allies and insurgent groups who are currently in control of the city of Fallujah and Ramadi. On January 3 2014, after the capture of Fallujah by the ISIL, the group proclaimed an Islamic state in the region.
The announcement also happened on the day a suicide bomber attacked a joint security patrol at Ramadi using his explosive laden car. Five people – three policemen and two soldiers were killed in the attack, according to two Iraqi police officials who spoke to AFP on the condition of anonymity.
Another reason for the increase in arms bounty to Iraq is the fact that in 2013 alone, over 7,818 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces were killed in the country in various terrorist attacks according to BBC. In fact, 2013 was the deadliest year in the country with the death toll being the highest in the past five years. In February, 22 bombers-in-training were killed when their suicide bomb instructor detonated himself accidentally in the midst of a training section.
UK based organization Iraq Body Count, which has been tracking violence in Iraq since 2003 believes the violence in Iraq would continue through 2014 as well. It remains to be seen if this fresh supply of Hellfire missiles and other arms and ammunition would help Iraqi forces quell the violence.
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