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U.S. planes hit Iraq targets

By CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon says U.S. warplanes bombed targets in southern Iraq Friday in response to "hostile Iraqi threats against coalition pilots and aircrews conducting routine monitoring the southern no-fly zone."

Pentagon sources say U.S. planes hit command and control sites near Al Amarah (approx. 165 miles south east of Baghdad) and Tallil (approx. 170 miles south east of Baghdad).

A statement from the U.S. southern command says the strikes took place between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. EDT.

U.S. and British warplanes had also bombed anti-aircraft artillery in Iraq's southern no-fly zone on Thursday.

Iraq had claimed after that attack that its air defense forces hit two coalition aircraft in the southern no-fly zone Thursday, according to the official Iraqi News Agency (INA).

Coalition aircraft also bombed an anti-aircraft site in southern Iraq on Tuesday.

The news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, sounded an unusual chord stating, "If Iraq were to cease its threatening actions, Coalition strikes would cease."

"To date there have been more than 1,030 separate incidents of Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery fire directed against Coalition aircraft since December 1998, including more than 400 this calendar year," the statement said.

"Iraqi aircraft violated the Southern No-Fly Zone more than 160 times during the same period," it added.

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