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A glance at recent events in the air war

In the first nine days of 2006, American and allied warplanes flew 390 air-support missions in Iraq, but only seven of those were airstrikes, according to U.S. Central Command. The others included intelligence collection, surveillance and reconnaissance.

On Jan. 1, Air Force F-15 fighters dropped four precision-guided bombs on a weapons cache near Rutbah in western Iraq, and F-16 fighters dropped two precision-guided bombs on an insurgent's vehicle. Navy F/A-18's strafed an insurgent position with 650 cannon rounds and struck another with a Maverick missile near Miqdadiyah, north of Baghdad.

On Jan. 2, Navy F-14 Tomcats flew an airstrike near Bayji, strafing insurgents with 100 cannon rounds and dropping a precision bomb on them after they tried to plant explosives.

On Jan. 4, Air Force F-15's and F-16's flew an airstrike near Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, dropping two bombs on an insurgent weapons cache and two other bombs on another improvised explosive. Other F-16's dropped a precision bomb on an insurgent mortar location near Balad, the site of frequent airstrikes and clashes between U.S. troops and insurgents.

On Jan. 7, Navy F/A-18s fired a laser-guided missile against insurgents planting a bomb. The strike was successful, Central Command said.

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(c) 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Iraq

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