Iraq says U.S., British jets bombed school
Aziz calls alleged attack 'crime against humanity'
November 28, 1999
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Eight civilians were wounded Sunday when U.S. and British warplanes bombed an elementary school in the city of Mosul, Iraq's official news agency reported.
The news agency said that the eight injured in the late morning attack on Al-Zanabeq school included three women and three children -- a 3-year-old and two 4-year-olds.
"We have no information to substantiate that," a Pentagon spokesman told CNN. "The Iraqis routinely make claims that, on further examination, turn out to be untrue."
A Pentagon spokesman said that the coalition planes that patrol the no-fly zone dropped ordnance on Iraqi air defenses Sunday after the planes were fired on.
'We refuse the no-fly zones'
U.S. and British jets have clashed repeatedly with Iraqi defenses since Baghdad declared last December that it would challenge foreign warplanes flying over its territory.
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told CNN that the latest attack on the school in the northern town of Mosul was "an ominous crime" and that "America bears the responsibility of this ugly crime."
When asked if he believed that the U.S. targeted the school, Aziz said, "I am not saying they intentionally attacked (the school), but they don't care. They just attack."
"When they attack a country widely as they have been doing since 1991 till now, of course civilians will suffer, so it doesn't change the fact that this is a crime against humanity," Aziz said.
"We refuse the no-fly zones, " Aziz said. "We have made it clear that we are going to challenge the no-fly zones."
Coalition reports its jets fired upon
In addition to the Iraqi attacks on jets Sunday that the Pentagon reported, the European Command reported that Iraqi forces fired on coalition aircraft on Saturday as well, from sites near Bashiqah, northeast of Mosul, and from sites near the Saddam Dam, north of Mosul.
U.S. and Britain aircraft have patrolled no-fly zones over Iraq since multinational forces won the 1991 Gulf War, which began with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Since December, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been challenging this enforcement by having his military personnel fire at coalition aircraft with surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery, using radar to target the planes.
Operation Northern Watch planes respond in self defense to these threats while continuing to enforce the no-fly zone, a spokesman at the Pentagon said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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