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US approves $785m bomb sale to UAE to fight ISIL

US approves $785m bomb sale to UAE to fight ISIL

The proposed sale includes 14,640 bombs and guidance kits

The US State Department has approved the sale of $785m in bombs to the United Arab Emirates for the US-led campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

A statement said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which facilitates foreign arms sales, told lawmakers on Tuesday that the sales had been approved. Lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since deals are carefully vetted before any formal notification.

The proposed sale includes 14,640 bombs and guidance kits, along with other munitions. The kits turn unguided bombs into precision munitions with navigation systems.

Washington views the UAE as an important Sunni Arab ally in the fight against ISIL, a Sunni group that has taken over parts of Syria and Iraq and has supporters and sympathisers around the world who have carried out bombings and shootings of civilians.

The UAE’s Al Dhafra Air Base hosts about 3,500 U.S. troops and fighter and reconnaissance aircraft used against the militants. The UAE has taken part in air strikes against ISIL in Syria, although US officials would like Gulf Arab allies to expand their contributions to the air campaign.

Separately, the US State Department also approved the sale of 246 missiles and other equipment to Japan for $821m, to be used for defense at sea over East Asian and Western Pacific airspace, the Pentagon said. The missiles would be used on two new destroyers being built by Japan.

The principal contractors will be Raytheon Co and BAE Systems, the Pentagon said.

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