US Defense Department announced Thursday that it is supplying 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq to help Iraqi forces to fight against the Islamic State (IS), various media reported Friday.
The weapons will reach next week, said the department spokesman Steve Warren. The US is also speeding up the delivery of ammunition with other equipment in order to counter IS' increasing reliance on vehicle-borne bombs, he added.
Over the last 30 days, the U.S. also helped deliver coalition donations of 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and 12,000 mortar rounds to the Iraqi army, Warren added.
After the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's visit to Washington in April, the US has delivered 250 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles, 2,000 Hellfire missiles, 10,000 sets of body armor and helmets.
The supply also includes millions of rounds of ammunition, including small arms, tank artillery and anti-tank weapons.
Warren said that the anti-tank weapons would allow the Iraqi forces to destroy approaching suicide car bombers from a distance. The dependence on small arms requires disabling the engine or killing the driver, which can be difficult, he added.
The weapons are handed-over for the Iraqi government to distribute to its army, as well as Kurdish and Sunni fighters. The US stressed that its strategy is intended to bolster the Iraqi government, rather than sending arms directly to the Kurds and Sunnis.
A senior State Department official on condition of anonymity on Wednesday said, Islamic State had carried out about 30 vehicle suicide bombings to take the Iraqi city.