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Forbes.com April 7, 2017

Countries Hit By U.S. Tomahawk Cruise Missiles Since Desert Storm [Infographic]

By Niall McCarthy

The U.S. military has carried out a cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase in response to a suspected chemical weapon attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Two American destroyers in the Mediterranean, USS Porter and USS Ross, fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Shayrat airfield at 04:40 Syrian time. According to the Pentagon, the missiles targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.

Over the past three decades, the Tomahawk missile has been at the forefront of American military intervention across the world. Usually carrying a 1,000-pound warhead, the missiles were last used to destroy coastal radar sites in Yemen after Houthi rebels fired anti-ship missiles at passing U.S. Navy destroyers. They can be launched from ships or submarines up to 1,000 miles away from their target, a considerable tactical advantage which also negates the risk of losing manned aircraft.

According to website GlobalSecurity.org, the U.S. fired over 1,100 Tomahawks between the Gulf War in 1991 and the intervention in Afghanistan in 2001. It has been used extensively in every major American conflict over the past 25 years including in Bosnia (Deliberate Force), Libya (Odyssey Dawn) and the initial strikes on the so-called Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa in 2014. Since 1991, Iraq has borne the brunt of America's Tomahawk onslaught, targeted by at least 1,618 cruise missiles. Operation Allied Force in 1999 saw a further 218 strike Serbia and Montenegro while at least 112 Tomahawks hit targets in Libya in 2011.

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