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Pentagon Says Pilots Were Right to Fire

November 09, 1996|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — After taking a second look, the Pentagon concluded Friday that Iraqi antiaircraft batteries had turned their radars on U.S. warplanes last Saturday and Monday, justifying retaliatory missiles fired by the aircraft.

A Pentagon statement said both F-16 pilots had indications on their control panels that Iraqi antiaircraft radar had "locked on" to the planes. The F-16s were flying patrol missions over southern Iraq as part of a long-standing operation blocking Iraqi flights.

Defense Secretary William Perry had appointed an assessment team amid questions about whether the pilots fired their weapons too quickly. The Pentagon's latest conclusions came from debriefing the pilots and examining flight data, along with independent intelligence.

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