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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 619-96
November 04, 1996

UPDATE ON SATURDAY'S INCIDENT OVER SOUTHERN IRAQ

Further analysis of Saturday's incident involving a U.S. aircraft over southern Iraq has not substantiated initial indications of Iraqi radar activity.

On Saturday, an F-16CJ aircraft participating in Operation Southern Watch, fired a High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) at a suspected mobile surface-to-air missile system after on board instrumentation gave indications of radar activity. Subsequent analysis did not support the initial indications of radar activity.

There have been no further incidents since Saturday.

To ensure the safety of its pilots, Operation Southern Watch rules of engagement permit pilots to attack any radar site which is illuminating their aircraft in a threatening way. The F-16 pilot acted appropriately in accordance with these rules of engagement.

Saturday's incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. Riyadh time (4:30 a.m. EST) in the vicinity of the 32nd parallel just southeast of Kut Al Hayy, located within the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq. An assessment of the battle damage is ongoing.

The aircraft, assigned to the 4404th (Provisional) Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, returned to the base without further incident.