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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

COALITION FORCES TARGET IRAQI MILITARY AIR DEFENSE COMMUNICATIONS FACILITIES

December 14, 2002 Release 02-12-06

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- In response to Iraqi threats against Coalition aircraft monitoring compliance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions over Southern Iraq, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to target multiple Iraqi military air defense communications facilities. The facilities were located near Al Kut, approximately 100 miles southeast of Baghdad; Qal'at Sukkar, approximately 170 miles southeast of Baghdad; and Al Amarah, approximately 165 miles east southeast of Baghdad. The strikes occurred at approximately 1 a.m. EST.

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. The Coalition executed today's strike after Iraqi military aircraft violated the Southern No Fly Zone.

The Coalition established the southern no-fly zone to ensure the safety of Coalition aircraft monitoring Iraqi compliance with U.N. Resolution 688, which forbids the repression of the Iraqi people in southern Iraq. The no-fly zone protects not only Coalition aircraft, but also the people of southern Iraq.

So far in 2002, Iraqi air defense forces have fired at Coalition aircraft more than 470 times and violated the Southern No-Fly Zone 13 separate days. In the same period, Coalition aircraft supporting Operation Southern Watch have responded by striking Iraqi military targets more than 80 times.

The last Operation Southern Watch strike was Dec. 10, when Coalition aircraft in the Southern No-Fly Zone struck a mobile surface-to-air missile system south of Alamarah, approximately 165 miles southeast of Baghdad.

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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