The air force has contributed its F-16 multi-role aircraft to bomb
Shi'ite mortar squads and strongholds. Officials said the F-16, Apache as
well as a range of unmanned aerial vehicles were coordinating in detecting,
tracking and destroying ground targets.
On April 7, an Apache and F-16 combined to destroy a mortar-launching
team and launch site in the New Baghdad district. The aircraft were summoned
after an army observation team spotted insurgents bringing mortars to the
The mortar squad managed to fire two 82 mm rounds toward a joint
security station in New Baghdad. By that time, an aerial surveillance team
pinpointed the origin of the mortar strike.
Officials said the Apache fired a Hellfire air-to-ground missile that
killed the mortar crew. An F-16 then dropped an unidentified low-yield bomb
on the mortar site.
The Apaches and F-16s have formed what the military termed an aerial
weapons team. On April 6, the AH-64 launched a Hellfire that destroyed a
storage site for rails used to stage rocket attacks.
The military's aerial weapons teams have not succeeded in stopping
Shi'ite mortar and rocket strikes. On Wednesday, at least seven people were
killed when mortar shells crashed into apartment buildings in Sadr City.