US, British Warplanes Strike in Northern, Southern Iraq

Published May 22nd, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

US and British warplanes attacked Iraqi military sites in northern and southern Iraq Monday after aircraft enforcing no fly zones came under Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fire, the US military said. 

The strikes in southern Iraq were carried out by US F/A-18, US F-16 aircraft and British GR-1 Tornadoes, which attacked a military radar site and anti-aircraft artillery sites with precision guided munitions, the US Central Command in Tampa, Florida said. 

"The strikes came in response to anti-aircraft artillery fire against coalition aircraft yesterday," the command said. 

All aircraft returned safely to base, the command said. 

US fighter jets based in Incirlik, Turkey, meanwhile, bombed "elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system" in northern Iraq after Iraqi forces fired artillery from sites near Bashiqah, the US European Command, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, said. 

Some 40 British and US planes are based at Incirlik to patrol the northern no-fly zone imposed on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War to protect the region's Kurdish population. 

A similar exclusion zone was also set up over southern Iraq to protect the Shiite Muslim population there and is patrolled by US and British aircraft based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. 

Iraq does not recognize the zones, which are not authorized by any specific UN resolution, and has regularly fired on aircraft patrolling them since joint US-British air raids on Baghdad in December 1998. 

The United States says the planes only target military objectives in self-defense but the Iraqis say civilians and civilian installations are frequently hit -- WASHINGTON (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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