Predators Strike Insurgents

Hellfire missiles fired from an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle took out a mortar position and a number of “hostile individuals” April 11 in Basra, Iraq, Air Forces Central announced May 1. In another incident, a Predator launched a Hellfire April 26 in Sadr City in northeastern Baghdad that destroyed an automobile loaded with weapons, along with some insurgents, AFCENT said in a separate release May 1. In the case of the Basra strike, the Predator tracked a group of suspicious individuals for several hours until they hastily erected a mortar in the middle of the street and began firing at friendly troops. The MQ-1 operators then fired the Hellfires. In the Sadr City case, the Predator was conducting a reconnaissance patrol when it located a group of individuals loading weapons into the trunk of a car. It followed the car and struck once the MQ-1 operators determined that there were no innocent bystanders around. April was a record month for Predator strikes in Iraq, with 11 in total, USA Today reported April 29. The previous high was six in a month.