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Why US Chose Tomahawk Missiles to 'Punish' Assad for Chemical Attack

The US missiles hit at 3:45 a.m. Friday morning and targeted the base's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, U.S. officials said.

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Updated:April 7, 2017, 2:34 PM IST
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Why US Chose Tomahawk Missiles to 'Punish' Assad for Chemical Attack
U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) fires a tomahawk land attack missile in Mediterranean Sea which U.S. Defense Department said was a part of cruise missile strike against Syria on April 7, 2017. ( Photo: Reuters)
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Washington: The United States blasted a Syrian air base with a barrage of cruise missiles Thursday night in fiery retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians. President Donald Trump cast the US assault as vital to deter future use of poison gas and called on other nations to join in seeking "to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria."

Also Read: Can Donald Trump Attack Another Country Without Congress?

About 60 US Tomahawk missiles hit the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs, a small installation with two runways, where aircraft often take off to bomb targets in northern and central Syria. The US missiles hit at 3:45 a.m. Friday morning and targeted the base's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, U.S. officials said.

Also Read: US Missile Attack on Syria: How 60 Tomahawks Pounded Key Airbase

The missiles were fired from the USS Porter and the USS Ross, which belong to the US Navy's Sixth Fleet and are located in the eastern Mediterranean. A US official said the missiles targeted aircraft and runways at the base.

Also Read: Here's What Led to Trump's Decision to Attack Assad's Airbase

Here’s what you should know about Tomahawk missiles:

- The Tomahawk missiles were last used by the US last year in October to target three coastal radar sites in Yemen in retaliation to fire from Houthi rebels at US warships.

- The missile carries a 1,000-pound warhead, a report in the Washington Post said.

- The Tomahawk is a 20-foot-long missile, and weighs 2,900 pounds. It has a wingspan of eight feet, nine inches. It carries a 1,000-pound-class warhead, a report in the AJC.com said.

- The missiles don’t need a pilot near the target and can be fired from warships up to 1,000 miles away.

- Each missile reportedly costs $1.41 million and can travel at 550 miles per hour

- They are known to hit their target about 85 percent of the time.

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