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US Limits Cruise Missile Flights Over Saudi Arabia - 2003-03-29

U.S. military officials in the Gulf say they have limited cruise missile flights over Saudi Arabia after that country complained that some of the missiles had landed on its territory. But a top U.S. general says the move will not affect the U.S. led coalition's operations.

U.S. Air Force Major General Gene Renuart, the coalition's director of operations, admits several U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles fired towards Iraq have gone astray. "In the case of Saudi Arabia, we did have a number of T-LAM [Tomahawk] missiles that were reported down in their territory," he said.

General Renuart told a news conference in Qatar that the problem occurred shortly after the missiles were launched from ships, presumably in the Red Sea. After the Saudis complained, he says, U.S. forces agreed to limit flights of the missiles over Saudi territory and investigate the cause of the faulty launches. He says the flights will be resumed when appropriate.

The general says limiting cruise missile flights over Saudi Arabia will not affect coalition operations. He says coalition forces will use other routes and other systems to achieve its objectives.