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U.S. drops leaflets warning Iraq of counterattack

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CNN's Jamie McIntyre reports the U.S. military has dropped leaflets over southern Iraq warning Iraq to stop targeting coalition planes (October 3)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military has dropped leaflets over southern Iraq in a promised psychological campaign to undercut support for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, U.S. officials told CNN on Thursday.

The propaganda is being dropped over southern Iraq, warning the rank-and-file Iraqi military not to target coalition warplanes. The wording notes a determined U.S. effort to attack the sources of such ground fire, and says "You could be next."

The leaflet mission occurred in the last several days, with one such drop coming under fire by Iraqi ground forces. Officials told CNN a plane carrying leaflets, flanked by jet fighters, came under fire during a flight over the southern no-fly zone of Iraq.

U.S. and coalition warplanes retaliated early Thursday with a raid on a location about 160 miles southeast of Baghdad, targeting Iraq's air defense sector headquarters and operations center near Tallil.

A Pentagon-supplied English translation of the leaflet says: "The destruction experienced by your colleagues in other air defense locations is a response to your continuing aggression toward planes of the coalition forces. No tracking or firing on these aircraft will be tolerated. You could be next."

This is the first leaflet drop in Iraq in a year.

A U.S. military official characterized the latest message as telling Iraqi field troops that when top brass order them to shoot at planes, they are in violation of U.N. resolutions and face counterattack.

Iraqi ground forces have increasingly provoked coalition flights over the southern region.

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