Iraq Receives New Batch of F-16 Fighter Jets

IraqNews Reuters05.02.2016 Iraq
Iraq Receives New Batch of F-16 Fighter Jets

An F-16 fighter jet is seen on the tarmac at Iraq’s Balad air base in the Salahuddin province, north of the capital Baghdad, on July 20, 2015. (AFP)

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The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday the arrival of a new batch of U.S. F-16 fighter jets to one of the Iraqi air bases.

“The Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Anwar Hamad Amin received, at noon today, a new batch of F-16 fighter jets that arrived to one of the Iraqi air bases,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Another batch of F-16 fighter jets will be received in the near future, the Ministry indicated.

“This batch is one of a series of batches that will reach Iraq in the near future based on the contract concluded between the Republic of Iraq and the United States,” the statement added.

The Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee revealed on 09 November 2015 that Iraq will receive another five F-16 jets soon based on its contract with the United States, Czech Republic and South Korea, while it pointed out that this agreement will enable Iraq to dispense the international coalition warplanes.

Meanwhile, the international coalition fighting so-called Islamic State (ISIS) said that western forces in Iraq do not exceed 3,600, and that their missions are to train and advice.

Spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq Colonel Steve Warren said earlier this week that coalition forces’ contribution to taking back control of Mosul will be through providing an air cover to the Iraqi Army.

He added, after the Iraqi Army engage with ISIS and force the militants to escape from their hideouts, the coalition will strike them like they did before in Anbar.
He stated that the US Air Force is striking ISIS in three different areas - Mosul, Anbar, and places near Tharthar - aimed at weakening their capabilities to launch attacks on Baiji and Hadeetha.

The Colonel also said that the only military mission the coalition participated in was when they joined forces with the Kurdish Peshmerga troops to release hostages taken by ISIS in Hawaija city.

Warren said the Pentagon will send a small team to support and assist Iraqi Forces conduct some strikes on ISIS, in coordination with the Iraqi Army.

Warren revealed that the Turkish troops in Iraq are not a part of the US-led coalition.

“Turkish military forces in Iraq are not a part of the US-led coalition and the United States has not given Ankara the green light to fight terrorism in the country,” he said.

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