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UPDATE 1-U.S. approves possible sale of TOW anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia

Arabia@ (Adds number of missiles, background)

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department said on Thursday it had approved the possible sale to Saudi Arabia of 6,600 TOW anti-tank missiles worth an estimated $670 million.

The department said it had notified the U.S. Congress on Thursday of the possible sale.

"This proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East," the State Department said in a statement.

The announcement comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump hosted Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House and credited U.S. defense sales to the Saudis with boosting American jobs, even as Riyadh's campaign in Yemen's conflict faces criticism.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told Prince Mohammed there was an urgent need to find a political solution to Yemen's war, which has displaced more than 2 million people and driven the country to the verge of widespread famine.

On Tuesday the U.S. Senate killed a resolution seeking an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton Editing by Tom Brown and Sandra Maler)