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US gives Lebanon combat vehicles ahead of anti-IS offensive

The Lebanese army is a major recipient of US military support [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 14 August, 2017

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The Us has handed over to the Lebanese army eight Bradley Fighting Vehicles, part of a total of 32 that will be delivered over the coming months

The US has handed over to the Lebanese army eight Bradley Fighting Vehicles, part of a total of 32 that will be delivered over the coming months in US support for the Lebanese military.

The Lebanese army has been preparing an attack on IS-held areas for weeks near the border with Syria, sending in reinforcements and pounding the area with artillery shells and rockets.

The Syrian army and Hizballah are also preparing for a simultaneous attack on IS on the Syrian side of the border.

At the Bradley handover ceremony at Beirut's port. US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said the vehicles represent an investment of over $100 million that will "provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with new capabilities to protect Lebanon, to protect its borders and to fight terrorists".

The US has supplied the Lebanese military with Cessna aircraft that discharge Hellfire missiles, helicopters, anti-tank missiles, artillery and radars, as well as training.

The US Embassy says Washington has provided Lebanon with over $1.4 billion in security assistance since 2005.

Hundreds of Syrian rebels and civilians started leaving the Lebanon-Syria border area on Monday after a deal was reached for their departure following days of delay, paving the way for the anti-IS offensive.

Earlier this month, a US defence department spokesman revealed the presence of American special forces in Lebanon, providing training and logistical support for the army ahead of the anti-IS offensive.

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