Italy halts Iraq-bound weapons

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Although this official refused to discuss details, he said “most” of the 105,000 weapons were meant for police in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. That statement raised questions, however, since Pentagon reports list only 161,000 trained police across all 18 of Iraq’s provinces and say the ministry has been issued 169,280 AK-47s, 167,789 pistols and 16,398 machine guns for them and 28,000 border police.

A July 26 Pentagon report said 20,847 other AK-47s purchased for the Interior Ministry have not yet been delivered. Iraqi officials complain that the U.S. supply of equipment, from bullets to uniforms, has been slow.

A Pentagon report in June may have touched on another possible destination for weapons obtained via secretive channels, noting that “militia infiltration of local police remains a significant problem.” Shi’ite Muslim militias in Iraq’s civil war have long been known to find cover and weapons within the Interior Ministry.

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