Rocket warns Japanese troops in Iraq

Oct. 25, 2004 at 6:07 AM
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SAMAWAH, Iraq, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A dud rocket fired at Japanese forces in Samawah in southern Iraq may have been a warning, as a decision on extending the troops' stay looms in Tokyo.

A 107-millimeter-diameter rocket landed inside the Japanese camp Friday. No casualties or damage occurred. Had it exploded, the troops likely would have suffered their first casualties in Iraq.

Since the rocket was a dud without a fuse, defense officials believe it was a warning as the legally sanctioned period for the force's presence in Iraq ends Dec. 14, the Asahi Shimbun reported Monday. Tokyo has not yet decided on an extension of the deployment.

The incident was the first attack against Japanese troops since August, when four different mortar and rocket attacks occurred.

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