WASHINGTON- The Obama administration notified Congress on Monday of plans to sell 24 Apache attack helicopters to Iraq, part of an effort to bolster the military against al-Qaida-linked militants, after addressing lawmakers' concerns that held up the sale for months.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on its website it had informed Congress of the possible sale of the Boeing Co-built helicopters to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is in a standoff with Islamist militants in the western province of Anbar two years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
The administration also notified Congress of plans to lease Iraq up to six Apaches, which a U.S. defense official said would be used for training purposes until the purchased Apaches were delivered. The cost of the purchased Apaches, and the equipment and support that accompanies them, is worth about $4.8 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.
On Sunday, Iraqi forces intensified air strikes and artillery fire on the city of Falluja. The conflict in Anbar has focused Washington's attention in Iraq as fears grow about spillover from the war in neighboring Syria.
The Obama administration is also seeking to expedite delivery of fighter jets, missiles, surveillance drones and other weaponry to Iraq.