BEIRUT - The United States has given 200 armored vehicles to Lebanon, the Lebanese army said on Monday, bolstering forces that have been struggling to deal with sectarian violence inflamed by the war across the border in Syria.

The M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) arrived by ship to Beirut on Sunday, the army said in a statement. A Lebanese security source said the army now had 1,200 APCs.

A US diplomat said the shipment of vehicles would support the Lebanese armed forces' "capabilities and their mobility and ability to respond to crises. It is also to protect borders and internal stability".

The United States has provided more than $140 million in equipment and assistance to the Lebanese armed forces in the past six months, including six Huey 2 helicopters, a 42-metre coastal security craft, more than 1,000 guns - including grenade launchers - and 38 million rounds of ammunition.

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