Middle East

US sends 4 more F-16s to Egypt, despite Cairo tumult


FILE  (Reuters)

Four more F-16 fighter jets are slated for delivery to Egypt’s military as part of a U.S. foreign aid package that is apparently unaffected by the army’s overthrow of the North African nation’s president last week.

“There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military,'' one U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The jets will likely be delivered in August, with eight more to be sent in December.

The aid package, which also includes a total of 20 of the planes, plus some 200 Abrams tanks, was already criticized earlier this year by lawmakers who questioned arming then-President Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist leader ousted by the military.

The foreign aid deal was signed in 2010, when Hosni Mubarak was Egypt’s president.  

“At this point, we don't know where Egypt is headed," Rep. Mac Thornberry, (R-Texas), vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told FoxNews.com at the time. "We should be cautious about driving them away, but we should also be cautious about the arms we provide.”

In addition, the U.S. government also paid at least $83 million to upgrade facilities and provide training at the Egyptian military's "Cairo West Air Base" to accommodate the new F-16s.

The U.S. has been careful not to characterize the Egyptian military’s ouster of Morsi as a coup, which by law would preclude military aid from going out.