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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


May 20, 2002 RELEASE NUMBER: 02-05-04

MACDILL AFB, FL - Yesterday, Iraqi air defenses targeted Coalition aircraft at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT. This was the second attempt to destroy a Coalition aircraft within the last 12 days. In response, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft, monitoring the Southern No-Fly Zone, used precision-guided weapons to strike an aircraft direction-finding site in southern Iraq at approximately 6:30 pm EDT.

Target battle-damage assessment is ongoing. Coalition aircraft struck carefully pre-planned targets to neutralize hostile threats endangering our aircrews. The last Coalition strike in the Southern No-Fly Zone was against an Iraqi anti-aircraft radar site on April 15, 2002.

To date, Iraq has fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles against Coalition aircraft on nearly 1,100 occasions since December 1998. Iraqi aircraft have violated the Southern No-Fly Zone more than 160 times in 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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