US F-16 Jets Delivery to Iraq Major Milestone in Bilateral Relations

© Sputnik / Alexander Kovalev / Go to the mediabankUS Air Force F-16 fighter jet
US Air Force F-16 fighter jet - Sputnik International
The US delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Iraq is a significant landmark of the two countries’ strategic cooperation in fight against the Islamic State, the White House said in a press release following a phone conversation between US Vice President Joe Biden and Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — During the conversation, Biden and Al-Abadi also discussed the ongoing military campaign against ISIL in Anbar Province, and the vice president reaffirmed US support in the fight against the terrorist group.

“Both leaders [Obama and Al-Abadi] welcomed the delivery of new US F-16 fighter aircraft to Iraq as a major milestone in the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq,” the release read on Tuesday.

Biden also offered condolences for Friday’s deadly terrorist attack near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

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On Friday, a car laced with nearly three tons of explosives killed 120 people and injured another 170 at a busy market in Khan Bani Saad, north of Baghdad. The attack took place ahead of this weekend’s end of Ramadan festivities.

The ISIL has claimed responsibility for the deadly car bombing in Diyala province. The radical Sunni group — infamous for multiple atrocities, mass killings and destructions of cultural artifacts — operates on territories it has occupied across Iraq and Syria.

The F-16 is one of the oldest and regularly used combat aircraft in the US Air Force. It became operational in 1978 and is still flown by many air forces around the world, including Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt.

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