Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles when the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group overran the northern city of Mosul, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday, according to AFP.
"In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons," Abadi was quoted as having said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. "We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone."
While the exact price of the vehicles varies depending on how they are armored and equipped, it is clearly a hugely expensive loss that has boosted ISIS' capabilities.
Last year, the State Department approved a possible sale to Iraq of 1,000 Humvees with increased armor, machineguns, grenade launchers, other gear and support that was estimated to cost $579 million.
Clashes began in Mosul, Iraq's second city, late on June 9, 2014, and Iraqi forces lost it the following day to ISIS, which spearheaded an offensive that overran much of the country's Sunni Arab heartland.
The jihadists gained ample arms, ammunition and other equipment when multiple Iraqi divisions fell apart in the country's north, abandoning gear and shedding uniforms in their haste to flee.
ISIS has used captured Humvees, which were provided to Iraq by the United States, in subsequent fighting, rigging some with explosives for suicide bombings, noted AFP.
Iraqi security forces backed by Shiite militias have regained significant ground from ISIS in Diyala and Salaheddin provinces north of Baghdad.
But that momentum was slashed in mid-May when ISIS overran Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, west of Baghdad, where Iraqi forces had held out against the jihadists for more than a year.
Several weeks ago, an American official revealed that the United States would send 1,000 anti-tank missile systems to Iraq to help the Iraqi security forces defeat "devastating" suicide car bombs which helped ISIS seize Ramadi.