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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

March 14, 2003
Release Number: 03-03-20



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 target acquisition radar and an early warning radar, located approximately 230 miles west of Baghdad. The strikes occurred between 9:00 and 9:20 a.m., EST.

Target battle damage assessment is ongoing.

The Coalition executed today's strike after Iraqi forces moved the highly mobile radar system, which is associated with a surface-to-air missile system, below the 33rd Parallel into the Southern No-Fly Zone where it was a threat to Coalition aircraft supporting Operation Southern Watch. Both of the radars allow Iraqi air defense to locate, track and target 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 yesterday on March 13, when Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to target a similar radar system, also located approximately 230 miles west 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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