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U.S. military officials confirmed on Wednesday that Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets intercepted two Russian nuclear-capable bombers near Alaska on Tuesday.
According to a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) on Wednesday, two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers and two Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets crossed into the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday. The incident reportedly took place at 22:00 (10 p.m.) Eastern Time.
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Russian state media said that American jets escorted their aircraft for approximately 40 minutes but never approached closer than 100 meters. Although the Alaska ADIZ is not over American territory, the zone is regularly monitored in the interests of national security. All nations have the right under international law to establish an ADIZ over land or maritime territory.
“Homeland defense is NORAD’s top priority,” NORAD said in a statement said after the incident. “The identiﬁcation and monitoring of aircraft entering a U.S. or Canadian Air Defense identiﬁcation Zone demonstrate how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.”
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“The homeland is no longer a sanctuary, and the ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace,” added NORAD commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy.
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