October 12, 2012 / 10:50 AM / 5 years ago

Iraq agrees to buy 24 Czech combat, training aircraft

BAGHDAD, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Iraq has agreed to purchase 24 combat and training aircraft from the Czech Republic for about $1 billion as part of its programme to rebuild its air force, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's media advisor said on Friday.

Iraq will buy Czech L159 jets with the first planes arriving over the next seven months, Ali al-Moussawi said.

Iraq has no real air force since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and Baghdad says it will not be able to defend its airspace until 2020. Iraq is also purchasing U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets.

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