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B-2 strikes Baghdad communications tower

WASHINGTON -- An Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber shook downtown Baghdad after hitting a key communications facility with two precision-guided munitions March 27.

Massive plumes of smoke and debris rose from the target, a large tower on the east bank of the Tigris River. Officials at Operation Iraqi Freedom's Combined Air Operations Center said the strike was meant to degrade the ability of the Saddam Hussein regime to control the actions of Iraq's military forces.

In a press briefing March 28, U.S. Central Command officials credited coalition air forces with conducting a number of successful strikes against Iraqi sites in Baghdad and near the Kuwaiti border.

Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, CENTCOM deputy operations officer, told reporters at the command's forward headquarters in Doha, Qatar, that strikes were designed to hinder Iraqi command and control, as well as the regime's ability to attack neighboring countries.

"Our direct attacks against the regime, its structures and its units are focused on communication systems, hiding places and surface-to-surface missiles that continue to threaten coalition forces and neighboring countries," he said. "With each engagement, the regime loses more of its ability to deny freedom to the Iraqi people."

The general displayed several mission videos in which Iraqi facilities and equipment were destroyed, including a mobile-missile launcher site.

"We have established combat air patrols near the areas where most of the launches are occurring," he said. "We have been successful in destroying a number of launchers before and after they were fired and are actively hunting for them."

The general said each target, along with the weapon system used, is chosen to create a specific effect.

"The degree of destruction that is sought after varies depending on what type of weapon system we choose and what the desired effect is," Brooks said. "Each attack against a military target removes an option from the regime."

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