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TEHRAN — State media reported Saturday that an Iranian military pilot was killed in Iraq, the first confirmation that Iranian forces are involved in the Iraqi government’s battle to repel an offensive by al-Qaeda-inspired extremists.
IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, did not provide details of how or when the pilot was killed but said he died defending holy places in the Iraqi city of Samarra, which is home to an important Shiite pilgrimage site.
Iraq is trying to recover nearly $41 billion after the US has refused to deliver the F16 aircrafts the Iraqi government had paid for, Anadolu news agency quoted an Iraqi official as saying.
A member of the Security and Defence Committee in the Iraqi parliament, Hakim Al-Zamli, said: "The US has not complied with the agreement concluded with the Iraqi government to prepare and deliver the F16 aircrafts and Apache helicopters, as well as other weapons and materiel to combat terrorism, despite receiving more than $41 billion from the Iraqi government."
He added, "The US is not serious and is deliberately delaying the arming of the Iraqi army to combat terrorism in the country."
The US justifies the delay citing fears that the weapons might fall into the hands of ISIS militants.