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U.S Missiles Land in Saudi Arabia, Use of Saudi Airspace Halted

BY Admin  March 29, 2003 at 11:51 AM EDT

The problems apparently involved missiles fired from ships in the Mediterranean and Red seas, U.S. Major General Victor Renuart told a news conference in Qatar.

He said the United States was trying to fix the problem and would “go back with the Saudis and work to resume those [launches] when it’s appropriate.”

The military hoped to resume missile flights over Saudi Arabia once they would not endanger populated areas, Renault said, but he gave no estimate of when that might be.

Renuart said the problem occurred shortly after the launch phase of the missiles, before they begin their cruise flight toward Iraq.

“Basically we have a situation where the Saudis have said, ‘Can you see if we can figure out what has caused this?”‘ Renuart said. “And so we have agreed with them to conduct a review of those launch procedures.”

Renuart told reporters that the suspension of using Saudi airspace for the missile launches does not affect the coalition’s military plan.

“[The U.S. has] a great deal of flexibility on the battlefield, and that — it’s not an operational impact to us.” Renaurt said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a U.S. defense official told Reuters that “more than one and less than five” missiles had come down in the Saudi desert.

Another Tomahawk missile came down in eastern Turkey on Friday. When U.S. soldiers arrived to retrieve it Saturday, Turkish villagers showered the troops with eggs and stones and shouted slogans against the war in Iraq, Anatolian news agency reported.

It was believed to be the third U.S. missile to land in Turkey since the Iraq war began. Two Tomahawks misfired and landed in Turkey on March 23, a U.S. defense official said.