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No Holiday Break in Action for Busy CENTCOM Troops

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2002 – --Troops deployed within the U.S. Central Command area couldn't let their guard down just because it was Christmas. Military action in Iraq and Afghanistan kept the forces on their toes.

Coalition aircrews monitoring the no-fly zone in southern Iraq this morning struck Iraqi military command and control communications facilities near Tallil, about 175 miles southeast of Baghdad.

These strikes were in response to Iraqi military aircraft violating Southern No-Fly Zone restrictions, according to a U.S. Central Command news release. The last such strike in Iraq by coalition forces was Dec. 20.

In Afghanistan, several incidents kept troops occupied. A Special Forces team at Shkin reported a rocket attack on their compound shortly before 10 p.m. local time Dec. 24, a U.S. military spokesman at Bagram said today.

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division reported two rockets launched at their base near Khost sometime Dec. 25. There were no injuries or damage in either attack, the spokesman said.

A 4-year-old boy, who was seriously injured while playing with unexploded ordnance, was evacuated to Bagram Air Base for medical treatment Dec. 25. The spokesman in Bagram said today that the boy was injured at about 1:30 p.m. local time. Local residents, seeking help, brought him to U.S. forces.

Officials in Bagram reported the boy lost his right eye in the explosion. He is currently in stable condition at the U.S. Army hospital there.

An earthquake that measured 5.3 on the Richter scale occurred just before midnight local time Dec. 25. Military officials in Bagram said the tremor's epicenter was 95 miles north-northeast of Kabul. Military engineers are checking the area for damage.

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