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U.S. aircraft drop leaflets over southern Iraq

Fliers warn Iraqi troops not to fire on coalition planes

From Mike Mount
CNN Washington Bureau

Fliers warn Iraqi troops not to fire on coalition planes

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For a second time this month, U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets over Iraq, trying to persuade Iraqi troops not to fire on coalition aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone.

The leaflets were dropped Sunday over Basra and As Samawah, southeast of the capital, Baghdad.

Two types of leaflets were dropped as part of a continuing psychological campaign, though both carried essentially the same message: Stop firing on coalition aircraft, or else.

The leaflets were printed in Arabic. An English translation supplied by the Pentagon reads, "Before you engage coalition aircraft, think about the consequences," and on the other side it reads, "Think about your family, do what you must to survive."

The other leaflet reads, "Reaction if you decide."

Both fliers depict images of Iraqi forces firing on coalition aircraft and then being destroyed by coalition aircraft.

The U.S. aircraft, part of Operation Southern Watch, released two containers of 60,000 leaflets each over Basra and were scheduled to drop two containers over As Samawah. However, only one container opened during that drop, limiting to 60,000 the number of leaflets falling around that city.

Earlier this month, U.S. aircraft dropped leaflets near Tallil, about 160 miles south of Baghdad.

Those leaflets also directed Iraqi troops to stop firing at coalition aircraft. In Arabic wording translated by the Pentagon, the leaflet read:

"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."

That leaflet drop was the first one over Iraq in about a year.

U.S. and British aircraft have enforced no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 to protect Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south from possible attacks by the Iraqi government.

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