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U.S. drops leaflets for Iraqi people

The leaflets encouraged Iraqi civilians to listen to radio broadcasts transmitted from U.S. aircraft.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Coalition aircraft dropped leaflets and bombs on southern Iraq in separate actions Thursday.

The leaflets encouraged locals to listen to radio broadcasts transmitted from U.S. aircraft in the area, according to military officials. The broadcasts describe Saddam Hussein's "lust for power."

It was the 12th leaflet drop in the past three months, the U.S. Central Command said in a press release.

Past leaflet drops have been aimed at Iraqi military forces to deter them from firing on coalition aircraft patrolling the region or rebuilding previously destroyed air defense systems.

After the 1991 Gulf War, the United States and Britain established a no-fly zone over southern Iraq to protect Shiites from the Saddam Hussein regime and one in the north to protect Kurds. Iraqi officials insist the zones violate the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity and refuse to recognize them.

Thursday's message, titled "Information Radio," was directed at Iraqi civilians. It offered five frequencies where they could hear U.S. broadcasts about such topics as U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 and U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq.

A partial transcript of one broadcast provided by the U.S. Central Command reads:

"History has shown that appeasement of brutal domineering regimes only brings greater tragedy. Saddam, too, has a lust for power, and the world will stand up and put an end to the terror he imposes on others, before he destroys Iraq and crushes the hopes of its proud people."

Some 480,000 fliers were dropped on two regions. The first drop was over the Basra area, about 245 miles southeast of Baghdad. The other was around An Nasiriyah, some 170 miles southeast of Baghdad.

In 2001, the United States used a similar campaign of leaflet drops and propaganda radio broadcasts to try to influence Taliban fighters in the early weeks of the war in Afghanistan.

Airborne signals were transmitted from "Commando Solo" planes deployed from the Air Force 193rd Special Operations Wing based at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The specially equipped C-130 turboprop aircraft can transmit on AM, FM, television and shortwave frequencies.

More Iraq targets hit

In other activity Thursday, coalition aircraft struck Iraqi military targets southeast of Al Kut about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, according to the U.S. Central Command.

"In response to Iraqi hostile acts against coalition aircraft monitoring the southern no-fly zone ... coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to target four Iraqi air defense cable repeaters," a command press release said.

Damage assessment was under way, the command said. There was no immediate comment from Iraqi officials.

The Iraqi military said that coalition aircraft hit a civilian site Wednesday instead of a military target as claimed, killing one civilian and wounding two others, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

U.S. military officials have repeatedly denied targeting civilian facilities.

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