Shipment will contain 1,000 more missiles than first announced
Washington, Asharq Al-Awsat—Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will receive 2,000 anti-tank missiles by the end of the week, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Pentagon spokesperson Commander Elissa Smith said: “Contact is ongoing between the Pentagon and the Iraqi government to speed up the delivery of 2,000 anti-tank missiles which are expected to reach Iraq in early June.”
The AT4 anti-tank missiles will assist Iraqi forces in the ongoing fight against ISIS, which controls vast swaths of Iraq and Syria. The AT4 is an 84-mm unguided, portable, single-shot weapon built by the Swedish-based Saab Bofors Dynamics.
“We are working to expedite the delivery of military equipment [to Iraq], including anti-tank missiles, as well as other forms of weapons, ammunition and counter-IED equipment,” Commander Smith added.
In earlier comments, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren affirmed that the missiles would help Iraqi forces defend themselves against suicide bombers driving vehicles packed with explosives, a tactic favored by ISIS and used by its forces during their takeover of Ramadi earlier this month.
“This is a good counter to that [type of bombing],” Warren said in a press conference last week.
The US is providing greater military assistance to Iraq following the fall of Ramadi amid fears of ISIS’s ongoing advance. Speaking on Wednesday, US defense secretary Ash Carter acknowledged that Pentagon officials have started to examine how US military forces can better equip and train Iraqi troops.
“The events of recent weeks there [in Iraq] have highlighted the central importance of having a capable ground partner and that’s what the purpose of our train-and-equip program is,” Carter said.