Iraq Claims Downing of US Reconnaissance Plane
Iraq said Wednesday it had shot down a US reconnaissance plane, the third lost there this year, and Iraqi television aired footage of debris which it said belonged to the aircraft.
A Pentagon official admitted that a US reconnaissance plane was missing over Iraq, but did not confirm it had been shot down.
On Wednesday evening, Iraqi television broadcast footage of charred debris and of a piece metal bearing the inscription "US navy property", as well as the remains of an engine, wings and electric cables.
"We did lose a Predator this morning," said Marine Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan, a spokesman at the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida.
US forces lost contact with the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft at around 0945 GMT, he said.
"Whether it was shot down or whether it crashed we don't known," he said.
Iraqi state television said a US reconnaissance plane flying out of Kuwait was shot down by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire over southern Iraq.
"An American spy plane flying out of Kuwait was shot down at 12:42 local time (0942 GMT) by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire," said an Iraqi air defense spokesman in Baghdad.
Iraq reported shooting down an unmanned US spy plane on August 27 and another on September 11, confirming official US fears that Baghdad has upgraded air defense systems.
A Pentagon official who asked not to be named said a "Predator went missing," but did not elaborate -- BAGHDAD (AFP)
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