Published March 19, 2003
ABOARD THE USS KITTY HAWK – Fighter planes from this aircraft carrier bombed at least two targets in southern Iraq on Wednesday afternoon, enforcing the so-called "no fly" zone in southern Iraq.
Lt. j.g. Nicole Kratzer, a spokeswoman for Carrier Air Wing Five, the airborne strike force aboard the Kitty Hawk, said the targets were "an Iraqi intelligence facility and mobile missile sites."
"Eight F/A-18 Hornets and two F-14 Tomcats from Carrier Airwing Five conducted response option air strikes against Iraqi targets in southeastern Iraq," she told reporters aboard the Kitty Hawk.
She said the bombs were laser-guided, precision weapons but did not elaborate. She also gave no further details of the sites or what prompted the fighters to respond.
Kratzer said intelligence officers were still trying to determine if the targets had been destroyed.
The more than 70 warplanes aboard the Kitty Hawk have regularly flown patrols over southern Iraq since the ship arrived in the Gulf in late February.
Wednesday's attack was the first time planes from the giant carrier have dropped bombs, though pilots have reported seeing anti-aircraft fire from the ground during recent patrols.
The Kitty Hawk is one of three U.S. aircraft carriers in the northern Gulf as part of the buildup of military forces against Iraq. Two other carriers are in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The five carriers, carrying a total of more than 350 warplanes, will form a key part of any air campaign against Iraq.
Al-Arabiya television, an Arab-language satellite news station, reported that six rockets destroyed an Iraqi intelligence telecommunications tower near the border with Jordan.
Iraqi news agency said U.S. and British aircraft attacked Basra International Airport in the south Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. The agency reported that aircraft attacked civilian and service installations at Anbar, Basra and Kut.