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PHOENIX -- Arizona Air National Guard F-16 fighters flew over downtown Phoenix Thursday to practice intercepting hostile aircraft intent on a terrorist attack.

The F-16s from the Tucson-based 162nd Fighter Wing ran a series of interceptions from different approaches between 11:30 and 1 p.m.

Capt. Jason Gutierrez of the Air Guard said the fighters were from squadron's alert detachment, which provides a rapid-reaction force over the region in case of an attack.

The Western Air Defense Sector exercises also involved a Lear Jet 35A business jet and Civil Air Patrol planes.

Similar exercises have been conducted since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Associated Press,

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