Iraq: U.S. airstrike wounds two civilians
May 23, 1999
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. warplanes struck Iraqi air defense installations after coming under artillery fire Sunday in the northern no-fly zone, the U.S. military said. The attack included non-military sites and injured two civilians, Iraqi officials said.
An Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi news agency, said the planes bombed "civilian facilities and weapons sites" in northern Iraq. The spokesman said two people had been wounded, but gave no further details.
"All coalition aircraft departed the area safely," the statement said.
An Iraqi spokesman said the country's air defenses challenged the Western planes and "forced them to depart our airspace to their bases in Turkey at 1:25 p.m. local time (0925 GMT)."
The spokesman also said that planes from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait patrolled Iraq's southern no-fly zone.
"At 10:10 a.m. (610 GMT), and 5:00 p.m. (100 GMT) today, 34 hostile formations coming from Kuwaiti and Saudi airspace violated our airspace," the spokesman said.
"These formations implemented 32 sorties from Kuwaiti and 50 from Saudi airspace," flying over four southern provinces, he added.
U.S. and British planes regularly patrol the two no-fly zones set up over Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War.
The no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel in Iraq was designed to protect Iraqi Kurds. A similar no-fly zone in southern Iraq was set up to protect Shiite minorities.
Since December, Iraq has challenged the enforcement of the no-fly zones, triggering retaliatory actions by U.S. and British jets.
Iraq says there have been several casualties in the attacks, and the United States has accused Baghdad of installing air defense systems in civilian areas.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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