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U.S. Troops Hit Terrorist Complex In Northern Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2003 – U.S. troops yesterday attacked a terrorist complex located in northern Iraq, Army Gen. Tommy Franks said.

"We did strike, last evening, a terrorist complex," Franks, the senior military officer overseeing Operation Iraqi Freedom, told reporters today at his Qatar headquarters.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said on many occasions that there are al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists in Iraq.

Franks noted he couldn't supply much detail about the operation during the press update. "I can tell you that from time to time in Iraq we will come across what we believe to be terrorist-associated activity or people," the four-star general explained.

"And when we do so, we will strike them, and then we will exploit the site," he added.

A reporter asked Franks why he waited three days into the war before his first briefing to reporters in Qatar. The general replied that the delay was due to concerns for operational security.

"We're a bit sensitive about the possibility of leaking information that risks the lives of our people who are engaged in this work," Franks explained, noting that to brief before operations were under way was a security risk he didn't want to take.

Therefore, he continued, the decision was made to wait for a few days before holding any briefings at in Qatar. Now, he added, things are a little different.

Franks pledged, "to try our best to provide fact-based information on a daily basis" to reporters at the Qatar press center.

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