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NEWS RELEASE

HEADQUARTERS,
UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 828-5894; FAX: (813) 840-5629; DSN 968-5894


October 16, 1999
RELEASE NUMBER: 99-10-02

COALITION STRIKES SITE NEAR AL KUT

SOUTHWEST ASIA - At approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time today ( 2:30 p.m. local time), six U.S. Air Force F-16 "Falcons" and two U.S. Navy F/A-18 "Hornets" enforcing the Southern No-Fly Zone used a variety of precision-guided weapons to strike a surface-to-air missile battery near Al Kut. The strikes came in response to the recent Iraqi movement of the SAM battery into a position threatening coalition aircraft.

All coalition aircraft have returned safely and battle damage assessment is ongoing.


The Iraqis' movement of the SAM battery and associated radar system constitutes a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and international demarches. There have been more than 450 direct provocations by Iraqi military forces, including more than 130 No-Fly Zone violations and more than 320 separate incidents of Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery fire directed against coalition aircraft, since Operation Desert Fox in December 1998.

The SAM battery was targeted to further degrade Iraq's ability to jeopardize coalition pilots and aircraft enforcing United Nations mandates. Coalition aircraft do not target civilian populations or infrastructure and seek to avoid injury to civilians and damage to civilian facilities. U.S. and coalition aircraft are part of Operation Southern Watch and are responsible for enforcing the No-Fly Zone over southern Iraq.

Joint Task Force - Southwest Asia was activated on August 26, 1992, as the command and

control unit for United Nations coalition forces deployed in the Arabian Gulf region. Its mission

is to monitor and control airspace south of the 33rd parallel in Iraq, in support of Operation

Southern Watch coalition forces in the region monitoring Iraq's compliance with United

Nations Security Council resolutions.

10/16/99 10:30:00 AM