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Dec 19, 4:17 PM EST

US approves sale of 175 Abrams tanks to Iraq in deal worth $2.4 billion

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration has approved the sale of 175 Abrams tanks to Iraq in a deal worth an estimated $2.4 billion.

A government statement says the tanks will help Iraq "quickly mobilize and defend its border" and demonstrate U.S. commitment to the country's self-defense.

Congress was notified of the approval Friday.

President Barack Obama has authorized more than 3,000 U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq to help national units fighting the Islamic State and to conduct training at several sites around the country. The U.S. also is hitting Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria through airstrikes.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency says the tanks deal with Iraq includes equipment, parts and logistical support. The sale will take up to five years to complete.

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