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Baghdad (AFP) Dec 23, 2012
The United States has delivered two naval support ships to Iraq, which is seeking to boost its fledgling maritime capabilities, the US embassy said on Sunday.
The two 60-metre (200-foot) offshore support vessels were delivered by the US navy on December 20, the embassy said in a statement.
The vessels are "large, multi-purpose, multi-functional ships capable of providing a wide range of support to Iraqi naval operations," it said.
They will also offer support to Iraq's patrol and fast attack boats at sea, offshore oil platforms and help move security personnel, it added.
According to the embassy, the US and Iraq shared the $115.5 million price tag of the ships and related support, equipment and training. It did not specify how much was paid by each country.
The US military completed its withdrawal from Iraq on December 18 last year.
Less than 200 US military personnel remain in Iraq under US embassy authority, assisting with the delivery of military equipment and training local personnel.
Washington is Iraq's main arms supplier as Baghdad seeks to boost its overall military capabilities. Iraqi officials say the military will not be able to defend the country's borders, airspace, or waters before 2020.
Bombs kill four in Iraq
A bomb blast in an under-construction house in the town of Mishahada, north of Baghdad, killed the workers and wounded another, a police captain and a doctor said.
A roadside bomb attack against an army patrol wounded three soldiers in the town of Khanaqin, northeast of Baghdad, while a member of the peshmerga forces was killed when a second bomb exploded as he and his team arrived at the scene of the first bombing.
Two other peshmerga were also wounded in the second Khanaqin blast, an army officer and a doctor said.
Violence in Iraq is down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks still occur almost every day.
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
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