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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


September 18, 2001 RELEASE NUMBER: 01-09-04

MACDILL AFB, FL - In response to recent Iraqi hostile threats against Coalition aircraft conducting routine monitoring of the Southern No-Fly Zone, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to strike an antiaircraft artillery site in southern Iraq approximately 9:30 a.m. EDT.

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 strikes in the Southern No-Fly Zone were against Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile sites on Sept 9.

To date, there have been more than 1,030 separate incidents of Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery fire directed against Coalition aircraft since December 1998, including more than 400 in this calendar year. 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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