U.S. air strike kills four Iraqis
Iraq said four people were killed on Thursday when Western warplanes launched a raid in south Iraq which the U.S. military said was prompted by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire at jets policing a "no-fly" zone.
A statement released by the U.S. military's Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, said the planes attacked an Iraqi military command-and-control center in a "no-fly" zone southeast of Baghdad.
The U.S. statement said the command facility, located more than 200 kilometers southeast of the Iraqi capital, was attacked with precision-guided weapons. Damage was still being assessed and all aircraft departed the zone safely, it added.
"This facility was struck because it helped direct anti-aircraft artillery attacks against coalition aircraft authorized by the United Nations Security Council" to enforce the zones, the statement said of the strike.
An Iraqi military spokesman said in a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA): "At 11:05 a.m. today U.S. and British planes carried out 44 sorties from bases in Kuwait, flying over Nasiriya, Shatra, Basra, Qurna, Amarah, Salman... "Hostile planes attacked our service and civilian installations in Meisan province, killing four people and wounding 10 others," the spokesman added.
Iraq's ground air defenses fired at the planes and forced them to return to their bases, he said. (Albawaba.com)
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