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Lebanese army to get $120 million in U.S. aid

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United States, which wants to prevent violence spilling over from Syria into Lebanon, will give the Lebanese army $120 million (£89.8 million) more in aid to boost border security and counter-terrorism work, the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon said on Wednesday.

Lebanon will get six MD 530G light attack helicopters, six Scan Eagle drones, and communication and night vision equipment under the new programmes, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said after she met Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

The United States has given the Lebanese Armed Forces more than $1.5 billion in assistance over the past ten years, the Embassy has said previously.

The United States hopes to strengthen the Lebanese army to stop the spread of violence over the border from neighbouring Syria and help it become the sole military force defending the country.

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group, which Washington regards as a terrorist organisation, is a powerful military force in the country and also fights in Syria for President Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanon hosts around 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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