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Operational Updates Out of U.S. Central Command

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2002 – Military operations continue throughout the U.S. Central Command area of operations. Officials in Afghanistan and Iraq reported incidents.

In Afghanistan, the dangers inherent in even routine military operations were highlighted Dec. 19 when an F-16 fighter jet from the Danish air force crash-landed at Bagram Air Base. Defense officials reported the jet's forward landing gear collapsed as the airplane set down at about 10:30 p.m. local time.

The plane overran the runway and came to a rest about 500 meters past the end of the runway in a minefield. The pilot was immediately transported to the U.S. Army hospital at Bagram, where he was held for observation. Officials had no other details on his condition or injuries.

Thirty other individuals near the crash site were also taken to the hospital out of concerns they might have inhaled poisonous gasses; however, they were all later released, officials said. Military officials are investigating the incident.

Coalition pilots patrolling the Southern No-Fly Zone over Iraq this morning struck two Iraqi air-defense communication facilities with precision-guided weapons.

The pilots struck the sites, at An Nasiriyah and Al Basra in southern Iraq, in response to Iraqi aircraft flying in the no-fly zone, according to a CENTCOM news release. U.N. resolutions forbid Iraqi military aircraft from flying in designated no-fly zones in the northern and southern regions of the country.

The last such strike by coalition aircraft was Dec. 18 at an Iraqi air-defense radar site at Al Kut.

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