BAGHDAD - The United States has sent Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Iraq's air forces, which is using them in a campaign against the country's branch of al-Qaeda, officials in Washington and Baghdad said Thursday.
Two Iraqi intelligence officers and a military officer said that 75 Hellfires arrived on Dec. 19 and more will be shipped in the future.
They said the missiles are being used now by four Iraqi King Air propeller planes during a large-scale military operation in the western desert near Syria. An intelligence official said that the missiles were used to destroy four militant camps.
Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, confirmed the missile shipment and also said that the United States was planning on sending ScanEagle drones.
"The United States is committed to supporting Iraq in its fight against terrorism through the Strategic Framework Agreement," she said, referring to a 2008 pact between the two nations. "The recent delivery of Hellfire missiles and an upcoming delivery of ScanEagles are standard foreign military sales cases that we have with Iraq to strengthen their capabilities to combat this threat."