AP sources: Congress clears way for Iraq arms sale


WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has cleared the way for the United States to provide Iraq with new military equipment to aid its battle against al-Qaida.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other lawmakers had held up a long-term transfer of Apache helicopters out of concern Iraq could use them for internal crackdowns instead of national defense. The senators had repeatedly pressed the State Department for answers.

The administration recently requested the sale of Hellfire missiles that Iraq wants for its fight with militants in Fallujah and Ramadi. The relevant congressional committees have approved that sale.

The aides said Thursday the helicopter sale could clear soon.

Aides demanded anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter.