U.S. increasing air strikes on Iraqi targets

Thursday, January 2, 2003

The United States nearly doubled the rate of air attacks on Iraq in 2002..

[On Wednesday, U.S. Central Command reported an air strike on an Iraqi air defense radar. The command said the target was located at Al Qurnah, about 200 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.]

U.S. officials said that British and U.S. warplanes attacked Iraqi air defense air assets in northern and southern Iraq at a rate nearly double that in 2001. They said allied forces attacked Iraqi installations 78 times in 2002.

In 2001, the coalition struck northern and southern Iraq 43 times. The number of attacks was 80 in 2000.

The U.S. military reported that the latest air attack on Iraq for 2002 took place on Monday. The Defense Department said British and U.S. warplanes bombed Iraq air defense facilities after an Iraqi fighter-jet penetrated the southern no-fly zone near the Kuwaiti border.

Monday's attack included the use of precision bombs, officials said. They said the attack followed an unauthorized flight of an Iraqi MiG-25 jet about 200 kilometers within the southern no-fly zone. It was the second flight by an MiG-25 in a week.

In response, allied warplanes struck the Iraqi air defense network near Basra. The attacks included bombing of cable repeaters and a mobile radar unit.

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