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US delivers laser-guided rocket kits to Lebanese army

A handout picture provided by the American Embassy in Lebanon on February 13, 2019, shows U.S. soldiers unloading military equipment destined for the Lebanese army, at the Beirut airport. (AFP Photo)

The U.S. has provided the Lebanese army with its APKWS laser-guided rocket kit, according to a Wednesday statement released by the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

The $16-million kit, which allows Hydra-70 unguided rockets to be equipped with laser-guidance systems, is regarded as a "key component" of the Lebanese Air Force's new A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft, the embassy said.

"Today's delivery demonstrates the U.S. government's firm commitment to supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole, legitimate defender of Lebanon," the statement read.

The embassy went on to point out that, since 2005, Washington had invested more than $2 billion in what it described as its "strong partnership" with the Lebanese military.

Notably, on the same day as the U.S. delivery, top Saudi officials reiterated the kingdom's continued support for Lebanon.

And one day earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif visited Beirut where he voiced Iran's readiness to provide assistance to the Lebanese army.

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