Iran pledges equipment for Lebanon army

 Iran is to offer equipment to the Lebanese army to bolster its battle against jihadist extremists, a senior Iranian official said on a visit to Beirut Tuesday.

Tehran: Iran is to offer equipment to the Lebanese army to bolster its battle against jihadist extremists, a senior Iranian official said on a visit to Beirut Tuesday.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran`s Supreme National Security Council, made the announcement after meeting Lebanese officials, Lebanon`s National News Agency said. 

"Iran has decided to offer a grant as a token of its appreciation for Lebanon and its brave army, in the form of equipment that will help the military in the heroic battle it is waging against terrorism," NNA quoted him as saying.

Iran`s official IRNA news agency also reported the offer, saying Tehran was ready to "provide aid to Lebanon`s heroic army proportionate to the threats."

Shamkhani did not give additional details on what form the aid would take, but stressed that it would be delivered quickly, IRNA reported.

Iran`s offer of support follows aid packages for the Lebanese army from both its regional rival Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It comes after Lebanese troops fought deadly clashes in August with jihadists of the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front in a town on the Syrian border.

The jihadists withdrew from the area after a truce deal, but took with them several dozen captive Lebanese soldiers and police, three of whom they have since executed.

Saudi Arabia last year announced it would give the Lebanese army $3 billion (2.4 billion euros) to purchase weapons and equipment from France, but that deal has yet to be fully implemented.

In August, the kingdom offered another $1 billion in funds to allow the army to purchase supplies immediately.

Washington has also sought to bolster Lebanon`s military, and this month announced it had delivered a new shipment of Hellfire missiles and would also supply light aircraft.

Announcing the supplies, US ambassador David Hale said the aircraft would be paid for out of the additional Saudi funding.

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