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U.S., British warplanes hit targets outside Baghdad


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. and British aircraft attacked two communications and control facilities outside Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday, Pentagon officials said.

The attack was the first in Baghdad since February 24, 1999, when U.S. aircraft attacked targets on the outskirts of the capital, killing and wounding several people.

The planes carried out their attack without crossing the 33rd parallel, the line that marks the boundary of the southern no-fly zone south of Baghdad, the Pentagon said.


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The facilities targeted were outside the no-fly zone, which was set up by U.S. and British forces at the end of the Gulf War in 1991 but is not recognized by Iraq.

Pentagon officials said that intelligence indicated that anti-aircraft attacks carried out by the Iraqis against allied planes patrolling the no-fly zone have been directed from the control centers north of the 33rd parallel.

The United States has claimed the right to strike facilities outside the no-fly zone.

Iraqis celebrating the end of the week in Baghdad were interrupted by the wail of air raid sirens, although they were told at first the sirens were a test.

Some 10 minutes later, however, anti-aircraft fire erupted to the south and west of the city and several large explosions were heard. Iraqi television changed from its regular programming to military music.

Television also aired an image of a wounded Iraqi soldier.

British and U.S. warplanes also patrol a no-fly zone in the north of Iraq.

CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre and Correspondent Jane Arraf contributed to this report.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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