ABU DHABI Ñ The United States has launched exercises of its B-52
bomber fleet in the Persian Gulf as the military bolsters its forces near
the Iraqi border.
U.S. Central Command said training flights of the B-52 Stratofortress
began in the northern Gulf region. The B-52 can be equipped with nuclear
weapons and is capable of launching cruise missiles and precision-guided
The command did not say how many B-52s were in the Gulf region. The
bomber has a range of more than 14,000 kilometers and delivered 40 percent
of all ordance
dropped on Iraqi forces during the 1991 war.
"The missions will be conducted on a recurring basis and are designed to
maintain aircrew proficiency and familiarization," Central Command said in a
On Tuesday, U.S. warplanes bombed an Iraqi surface-to-surface missile
battery in Iraq. No further details were immediately available.
In Kuwait, about 6,000 U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division arrived
by ship to complete the ground forces planned for an invasion of neighboring
Iraq. The troops were taken from Kuwait by helicopter north to the Iraqi
Earlier, the 2nd Marine Division, which includes mechanized infantry,
arrived in Kuwait. There are more than 70,000 U.S. troops in Kuwait.
On Tuesday, a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in an
early-morning mission near Kuwait City. The army said all four crew members