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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


April 20, 2001 RELEASE NUMBER: 01-03-02

MACDILL AFB, FL - In response to recent Iraqi hostile acts against coalition aircraft monitoring the Southern No Fly Zone, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to strike a mobile early warning radar in southern Iraq yesterday.

All coalition aircraft returned safely and target battle damage assessment is ongoing.

Coalition strikes in the No Fly Zones are executed as a self-defense measure in response to Iraqi hostile threats and acts against coalition forces and their aircraft. If Iraq were to cease its threatening actions, coalition strikes would cease as well. The last coalition strike in the Southern No-Fly Zone was against an Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery site on April 12.

To date, there have been more than 800 separate incidents of Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery fire directed against coalition aircraft since December 1998, including more than 170 in this calendar year alone. Iraqi aircraft violated the Southern No-Fly Zone more than 160 times during the same period.

Coalition aircraft never target civilian populations or infrastructure and go to painstaking lengths to avoid injury to civilians and damage to civilian facilities.

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