US expedites delivery of missiles, drones to Iraq amid violence

By REUTERS
December 26, 2013 23:07

 
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WASHINGTON- The United States has delivered dozens of Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Iraq in recent weeks and plans shipments of Scan Eagle drones next year amid a surge in violence, U.S. officials said on Thursday, a day after at least 34 people died in Christmas day bomb attacks in Baghdad.

Al Qaeda-linked militants have stepped up attacks on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government and anyone seen to be supporting it. The United Nations estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in attacks in Iraq this year.

A US official said that about 75 Hellfire missiles were delivered to Iraq last week, earlier than originally envisioned, and a shipment of 10 unmanned Scan Eagles surveillance drones is due next year.

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