For the first time since February: U.S., British planes bomb Iraqi air defense systems
U.S. and British planes patrolling a no-fly zone over northern Iraq bombed Iraqi air defense systems Friday in response to anti-aircraft fire, U.S. officials said.
The bombs were dropped after Iraqi forces east of Mosul fired on a routine air patrol, the U.S. European Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany, said in a written statement. "All coalition aircraft departed the area safely, the statement said.
It was the first bombing of northern Iraq since February and the third this year, U.S. officials said, and came amid intense debate on whether Iraq will be the next target in what the U.S. administration is calling a war against terrorism.
U.S. and British planes based in southeast Turkey have been flying patrols over northern Iraq since 1991. The two countries say the patrols are designed to protect the Kurdish population of northern Iraq from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. (Albawaba.com)