July 19, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter, providing nontraditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to coalition ground forces, killed a member of an improvised explosive device cell and identified an IED emplacement yesterday near Baqubah, Iraq, U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials reported today.
The F-16's pilot identified three possible IED emplacers and passed the information to ground forces. Ground unit personnel positively identified the terrorists and requested the F-16 engage the hostile forces. The F-16 strafed the terrorists, killing one and ending the engagement.
Coalition aircraft, operationally controlled by U.S. Central Command Air Forces from Southwest Asia bases, provide a constant air umbrella over Iraq
, providing for the safety and security of the Iraqi people and coalition ground forces, officials said.
"Our message is clear to those who continue to harm innocent civilians and attack coalition forces: if terrorists continue their activities, we will identify, track and take appropriate action to stop them," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Anthony Haynes, Combined Air Operations Center director. "More than 30,000 deployed airmen are hard at work, in the air and on the ground, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, striving to improve the safety and quality of life for local citizens," he said.