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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


May 22, 2002 RELEASE NUMBER: 02-05-05

MACDILL AFB, FL - Aggression by Iraq led to the destruction of two military targets by the Coalition forces charged with enforcing the Southern No-Fly Zone decreed by the United Nations.

Iraqi air defenses again fired upon Coalition aircraft at approximately 3:15 p.m. EDT today. There have been no less than three attempts to destroy a Coalition aircraft in the last 15 days. In response, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to strike an offensive aircraft and missile control center in southern Iraq at approximately 5:15 p.m. EDT. Coalition aircraft also struck an anti-aircraft missile system south of the 32nd parallel at approximately 5:15 p.m. EDT. The positioning of this missile system by the Iraqis violated UN Security Council Resolutions and threatened Coalition aircraft.

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 aircraft detection site on May 19, 2002.

To date, Iraq has fired anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles against Coalition aircraft on more than 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. This action was taken to reduce the threat to the coalition aircraft patrolling the Southern No-Fly Zone.

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