- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2001


The Pentagon today ordered combat aircraft to begin moving to bases in the Persian Gulf area, the first concrete sign of preparations to retaliate for last week's terrorist attacks, a senior defense official said.
The combat aircraft will be preceded by teams of Air Force air controllers who will coordinate the refueling of the fighters and bombers as they deploy from the United States to the Gulf region, the official said.
The deployment has been dubbed “Operation Infinite Justice,'' the official said.
The official said no aircraft have moved yet. First to move would be the air controller teams, which must establish ground communications at various places along the air route in order to coordinate refueling operations.
Likely to be included in the force of combat aircraft are F-16s, F-15s and possibly B-1 bombers, the official said.
The United States already has a sizeable and well-developed military presence in the Persian Gulf, with combat aircraft stationed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and elsewhere. It appeared likely that many of the extra combat aircraft to be deployed in the next several days would go to Kuwait and Bahrain, the official said.
Earlier today, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that America's war on terrorism must go beyond Osama bin Laden and hunt down associated networks of terrorists in dozens of countries.
“We have a lot of evidence about a number of countries harboring terrorists that are working across the globe,'' Mr. Rumsfeld told CNN.

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