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MiG Jet Fighter Found Buried in Iraq

The preceding photographs are authentic, originally published by the U.S. Department of Defense on August 6, 2003 and credited to Master Sgt. T. Collins of the USAF. The accompanying text, though this version purports to be an "unclassified excerpt" from an unspecified document, was lifted verbatim from a NewsMax.com article of the same date.

After overseas news sources began reporting at the beginning of August 2003 that upwards of 30 Cold War-era Russian MiG-25 Foxbat fighter jets had been found buried in the desert at al-Taqqadum airfield near Baghdad, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirmed the discovery on August 5. He cited the exhumed aircraft, which had gone undetected for months by U.S. forces operating in the area, as an example of the difficulty of locating hidden weapons of mass destruction.

Iraq acquired the MiG-25s, along with about 200 other aircraft, from the U.S.S.R. in 1980. The fighters were still in use as recently as early 2003, but, for reasons still unknown, Saddam Hussein decided to conceal his air force instead of deploying it against U.S.-led coalition forces when they invaded Iraq in March 2003. Reportedly, some of the buried aircraft were damaged beyond repair.

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Sources and further reading:

Iraqi Aircraft 'Buried in Desert'
BBC News, 1 August 2003

American Forces Pull Hidden MiG Fighters out of Iraqi Desert
American Forces Press Service, 6 August 2003

Iraqi 'Mach 3' MiG Buried in Sand
NewsMax.com, 6 August 2003

Last updated: 04/22/04

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