US helps Tunisia with military hardware to fight against IS attacks

The US on Thursday delivered a batch of military hardware to Tunisia to help the North African country, which has suffered several attacks by the Islamic State (IS) group, secure its borders.
Light aircraft, jeeps and communications systems were among the equipment handed over at a ceremony attended by US official Amanda Dory and Tunisian Defence Minister Farhat Horchani.
Dory, the US deputy assistant secretary of defence for African affairs, said the equipment was part of a $20m package to bolster Tunisia’s military capabilities.
“I’m very pleased that the United States is able to provide Tunisia with surveillance aircraft that will improve Tunisia’s ability to locate terrorists who attempt to infiltrate your borders,” she said.
“These aircraft will be able to provide advanced warning to ground forces employing advanced digital communications technology to coordinate rapid introduction utilising these new jeep vehicles or other existing assets.”
Horchani, who took delivery of the equipment at the Aouina air base near Tunis, said the “sophisticated” hardware would “strengthen our capacity to protect our land and maritime borders in the face of regional security challenges”.
Tunisia was hit by a series of deadly IS attacks last year against foreign holidaymakers and security forces that killed dozens and dealt a devastating blow to the tourism industry, a mainstay of its economy.
Officials regularly voice concern about the situation in neighbouring Libya, where IS has built a bastion in the coastal city of Sirte, which it overran last year and turned into a training camp for militants.
Tunisia has built a 200km barrier that stretches about half the length of its border with Libya in an attempt to prevent militants from infiltrating.
“The surveillance capability will increase the government of Tunisia’s awareness of activity along your borders; it is another example of how the United states and Tunisia cooperate to gather additional information about potential threats,” Dory said.

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