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Fri 9 Dec 2016 10:30 AM

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US Congress mulls Gulf military sales worth nearly $8bn

US State Department notifies Congress of possible deals to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar

US Congress mulls Gulf military sales worth nearly $8bn
The possible sale to Saudi Arabia is for CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters and related equipment. (Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images)

The US State Department has notified Congress of possible military sales to Saudi Arabia worth $3.51 billion, to the UAE worth $3.5 billion and to Qatar for $781 billion, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The possible sale to the UAE involves Apache AH-64E helicopters and services; the Saudi Arabia sale is for CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters and related equipment; and the possible sale to Qatar is for logistics support and spare engines and equipment for C-17 aircraft, the statement said.

The approval coincides with Saudi Arabia leading a military coalition in support of Yemeni forces loyal to the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who are trying to oust Iran-allied Houthi forces from the capital, Sanaa.

In October, the United States said it would start an "immediate review" of its assistance to the Saudi-led campaign, which has drawn condemnation from human rights advocates for killing civilians.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Thursday that the Saudi-led coalition had killed several dozen civilians in three air strikes in September and October.

"The coalition's use of United States-supplied weapons in two of the strikes, including a bomb delivered to Saudi Arabia well into the conflict, puts the U.S. at risk of complicity in unlawful attacks," the statement said.

Previously this year, the United States approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of about $1.15 billion in military equipment.

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