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Iraqi, U.S. troops compete for armor

Oct. 30, 2005 at 9:50 AM

BAQUBA, Iraq, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- In Iraq, Iraqi and U.S. troops compete for a limited supply of armor to protect themselves and their vehicles from insurgent bombs.

A service station in the Diyala Province is churning out as many retrofitted Iraqi trucks as possible, The New York Times reports, but with four workers sharing two torches to add metal to the vehicles, only about 34 have been completed since spring.

In the capital of the province, Baquba, 209 Iraqi soldiers and police have been killed this year.

There is a plan to get 1,500 armored Humvees to Iraqi troops starting in December. That plan relies on one Ohio contractor to produce the vehicles as well as those for U.S. troops.

Army Lt. Gen. David Patraeus was in charge of getting gear to Iraqis until last month.

He said his office has tried its best to get the vehicles, personal armor as well as guns and bullets to the Iraqi troops.

Patraeus said "there has been enormous progress," considering the Iraqis have to compete with outfitting U.S. troops.

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