Iraq on Saturday hosted an international arms exhibition for the third year in a row, as it seeks to obtain weapons to bolster its forces in their battle against militants.

The government is struggling to contain a year-long surge in violence that has reached levels not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings in which tens of thousands of people died.

“The companies that contributed today in the exhibition will have priority in contracting over other companies in filling the needs of the armed forces,” acting Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi said.