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Southern Watch Aircraft Counter Iraqi Threats

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2002 – U.S. aircraft patrolling the Southern No-fly Zone over Iraq struck air defense sites today in response to Iraqi provocations.

U.S. Central Command officials announced that U.S. aircraft dropped precision-guided bombs on an air defense radar site near al Basrah. Other coalition forces struck a surface-to- air missile site near Tallil. They said battle-damage assessment continues.

This is the fourth time this month coalition forces have hit targets in Iraq. Operation Southern Watch aircraft struck sites on Oct. 1 and Oct. 3. Operation Northern Watch aircraft struck Oct. 9.

Coalition aircraft only hit military targets and only strike when they have been provoked, DoD officials said. Central Command officials said the most recent strikes occurred after the Iraqis attacked coalition patrols with anti-aircraft gunfire and a surface-to-air missile. Officials said the missile was launched "blind" with no guiding radar.

U.S. and British aircraft patrol the Northern and Southern No-fly Zones as part of U.N. Security Council resolutions passed following the Persian Gulf War.

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