US ambassador says Washington doubling military assistance to Lebanon's army

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BEIRUT — The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon says Washington is more than doubling the baseline amount of U.S. military assistance to the Lebanese army compared to the previous year.

Ambassador David Hale told reporters after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Friday that America is committing $150 million of U.S. assistance funds to the army for the upcoming year

Hale said America believes that the army is "the sole institution with the legitimacy and mandate to defend the country and its people."

Hale said the funds will allow the army to buy munitions, improve close air support, sustain vehicles and aircraft, modernize airlift capacity, provide training to its soldiers, and add to the mobility of armored units.

The Lebanese army is fighting extremist groups on the border with Syria.

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