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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

March 5, 2003
Release Number: 03-03-05


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


COALITION FORCES TARGET IRAQI MOBILE SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE SYSTEM


SOUTHWEST ASIA -- 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 a mobile surface-to-air missile system and an anti-aircraft artillery site in southern Iraq, approximately 240 miles west of Baghdad. The strike occurred at approximately 9:10 p.m., EST.

Target battle damage assessment is ongoing.

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

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 March 3, when Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target four Iraqi military communications facilities and an air-defense facility near Al Kut, approximately 95 miles southeast of Baghdad. The Coalition executed those strikes after Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery at Coalition aircraft supporting Operation Southern Watch.

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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