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World - Middle East

U.S. jets strike northern Iraq

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March 12, 1999
Web posted at: 8:12 a.m. EST (1312 GMT)

ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- U.S. jets attacked at least one Iraqi installation in the country's northern "no-fly" zone Friday after Iraqi forces threatened them, a U.S. military spokesman said.

U.S. Air Force jets patrolling the northern no-fly zone over Iraq "responded to Iraqi threats" about 1:30 p.m. (1030 GMT) Friday, said Capt. Manning Brown, a spokesman at Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey. Brown said it was not clear how many sites had been hit in the incident.

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Airstrikes like Friday's have become routine since December, when Iraq announced it would no longer recognize the no-fly zones, which were imposed over its northern and southern reaches after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Since the end of the war, U.S. and British forces have enforced the two zones to protect minority Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south.

The Iraqi declaration came after a four-day bombing campaign in December, dubbed "Operation Desert Fox," prompted by Iraq's obstruction of U.N. weapons inspectors. U.S. officials say two months of scattered airstrikes in the no-fly zones have done more to weaken Iraqi air defenses than the December attacks.

Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
U.S. launches new attacks in Iraq 'no-fly' zones
March 6, 1999
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March 4, 1999
U.S. planes attack Iraqi northern no-fly zone
February 28, 1999

RELATED SITES:
United Nations
  •  UNSCOM
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Iraqi National Congress
Permanent Mission of Iraq to the UN
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