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Iraq gets new batch of F-16 planes for Mosul offensive

Iraq gets new batch of F-16 planes for Mosul offensive

Iraqi authorities so far received ten F-16 aircraft from the United States as part of a 2011 deal to purchase 36 warplanes

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Iraq has received four new F-16 fighter jets from the United States, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement on Sunday the warplanes would “support operations aimed to liberate the rest of usurped Iraqi territory”.

Iraqi authorities have so far received ten F-16 aircraft from the United States as part of a 2011 deal to purchase 36 warplanes.

“The new aircraft will play a major role in the offensive to liberate Mosul,” Iraqi lawmaker Iskandar Witwit told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Witwit said the F-16s would serve to boost the Iraqi air force’s efficiency during an anticipated offensive to capture Mosul from Daesh terrorist group, which overran the city in 2014.

“F-16 warplanes are needed to destroy Daesh sites and weapons depots in Mosul,” he said.

Last month, Iraq received two Russian MI-28NE attack helicopters, which, according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, have played an important role in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group.

Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured vast swathes of territory in western and northern Iraq.

While the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, has managed to retake most of the territory, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country.

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