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World - Middle East

Allied jets attack air defenses in north and south Iraq

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February 22, 1999
Web posted at: 6:51 p.m. EST (2351 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. warplanes attacked targets in Iraq Monday for the 23rd day, unleashing about two dozen bombs against multiple targets in the north and south.

U.S. F-15 fighters based at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. bombed a number of anti-aircraft guns and radar sites near the city of Mosul in northern Iraq after they were targeted and fired on by the Iraqis, the U.S. European Command said in Germany.

The U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, said that U.S. F- 15s and British Tornado jets operating from bases in friendly Gulf states attacked four radar and military communications sites near Basra in southern Iraq on Monday morning after two Iraqi MiG-23 jets violated the southern no-fly zone.

Later Monday, Navy F-18s from the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the Gulf, Air Force F-15s and British Tornadoes bombed additional "military targets" in the southern zone near As Samawah, Ar Rumaylah and Al Kharm in response to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire against allied warplanes, the Central Command said.

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All allied planes returned safely to their bases and damage to the ground sites was being assessed, the Pentagon said.

In Baghdad, Iraq said that one person was killed and several wounded Monday when Western warplanes attacked civilian installations during patrols of the Western-enforced no-fly zones, set up to protect Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiites in the south from Iraqi attacks.

U.S. military officials denied that any attacks were launched against civilian sites.

Monday's airstrikes bring the number of targets attacked since the end of December's Operation Desert Fox to approximately 90. That is approaching the number of targets - - 100 -- that were struck during the four-day bombing of Iraq beginning December 16, 1998.

But the attacks on 23 separate days since then have been largely limited to Iraqi air defenses, and many of the targets have been much smaller than those hit during Desert Fox. Consequently, Pentagon officials said, the damage inflicted since the Desert Fox strikes, while significant, is much less than during the December attacks.

The no-fly zones were set up by the United States, Britain and France after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to deter the Iraqi air force from attacking rebels in the north and the south. Iraq does not recognize the zones and has vowed to fire at any plane that violates its airspace.

Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre and Reuters contributed to this report.


MESSAGE BOARD:
Situation in Iraq

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RELATED SITES:
United Nations
The Iraq Foundation
Iraqi National Congress
Permanent Mission of Iraq to the UN
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