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US fighter jets intercept four more Russian aircraft

U.S. fighter jets intercepted four Russian aircraft that entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the latest in a series of incidents off the Alaskan coast.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement that F-22 jets intercepted four Russian Tu-142 reconnaissance aircraft entering the ADIZ. The Russian aircraft came within 65 nautical miles of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands and remained in the ADIZ for nearly eight hours, though they did not enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.

Saturday’s interception was at least the fourth such incident this month, with the most recent one occurring Wednesday when U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering the ADIZ.

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“This year alone, NORAD forces have identified and intercepted Russian military aircraft including bombers, fighters, and maritime patrol aircraft on ten separate occasions when they have flown into the ADIZ,” said Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, NORAD commander.

“Despite COVID-19, we remain fully ready and capable of conducting our no-fail mission of homeland defense,” he added.

In March and again in April, the U.S. military also intercepted Russian aircraft that got within 50 nautical miles of the Alaskan coast, though the latest interceptions have occurred closer to it.