Ben Affleck's Secret Mideast Mission

12/17/2003 01:55AM

Now headlining in the Persian Gulf, all the way from the U.S.A., let's have a big hand for ... Ben Affleck? Yep, the actor is heading east to entertain the troops in the spirit of Bob Hope's Christmas tours, PEOPLE reports in its upcoming issue.

For security reasons, at press time the USO would not confirm Affleck's exact destination. One thing is declassified, however: Affleck will take along his new action thriller "Paycheck" and give soldiers a sneak preview of the film.

"Ben feels strongly about visiting the troops," says a rep for Paramount, which is releasing the flick. "It's a bump for morale, and he's thrilled that he has the opportunity to go over and give them a little bit of home. His heart is in the right place."

Don't expect to see Jennifer Lopez by his side. Though the two were cozy during a visit to New York City on Dec. 15, the Persian Gulf trip is expected to be a solo mission. Affleck will follow his "Good Will Hunting" costar Robin Williams, who performed for soldiers on Dec. 16 at the Baghdad airport.

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