WASHINGTON – U.S. planes dropped nearly a half-million leaflets over southern Iraq on Thursday, including some saying American forces “do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq,” the Defense Department said.
The planes dropped 480,000 leaflets at about 2:30 a.m. EST near Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city, as well as the cities of Umm Qasr, An Nasiriyah and Az Zubayr, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command.
Some of the leaflets directed Iraqis to listen to U.S. propaganda radio broadcasts beamed from American planes flying over Kuwait. Others included a picture of a well-known Baghdad mosque and the message that U.S.-led coalition forces want to attack military targets, not landmarks.
“Coalition forces do not wish to harm the noble people of Iraq,” the leaflet says, according to Central Command. “To ensure your safety, avoid areas occupied by military personnel.”
The United States has dropped millions of leaflets in the no-fly zone in southern Iraq in recent months, announcing the propaganda broadcasts, warning soldiers not to shoot at U.S. planes or repair air defense equipment damaged by U.S. airstrikes and encouraging the Iraqi military to oppose President Saddam Hussein.