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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

February 28, 2003
Release Number: 03-02-28



MACDILL AFB, FL - In response to Iraqi threats to Coalition aircraft monitoring compliance of United Nations Security Council Resolutions, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to target three mobile air-defense early-warning radars and a surface-to-air missile system in southern Iraq, south of the 33rd Parallel. The radars and SAM system were located near An Nasiriyah, approximately 170 miles southwest of Baghdad. The strike occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m., EST.

Target battle damage assessment is ongoing.

The Coalition executed today's strike after Iraqi forces moved the highly mobile radars and SAM system below the 33rd Parallel into the Southern No-Fly Zone where it was a threat to Coalition aircraft supporting Operation Southern Watch.

The Coalition established the Southern No-Fly zone to ensure the safety of coalition aircraft monitoring Iraqi compliance with UN Resolution 688, which forbids the repression of the Iraqi people. The no-fly zone not only protects Coalition aircrews, but also the people of southern Iraq.

The last Operation Southern Watch strike was on Feb. 27, when Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target an early-warning radar and a communications facility near Al Basrah, approximately 250 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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