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U.S., British Warplanes Bomb Iraqi Radar Sites

November 22, 2002|From Reuters

BAGHDAD — U.S. and British warplanes bombed two air-defense radar sites in southern Iraq on Thursday in the latest of a series of strikes in the "no-fly" zones, the U.S. military said.

The Western warplanes first struck radar near Ash Shuaybah, about 245 miles southeast of Baghdad, then bombed radar near Tallil, about 170 miles southeast of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said.

Defense officials said the strikes were in retaliation for Iraqi air defenses attacking U.S. and British planes that patrol the no-fly zones in southern and northern Iraq.

Iraq said the planes were driven off by antiaircraft fire in the second consecutive day of Western strikes.

An Iraqi military spokesman, quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency, claimed that Western planes bombed "civilian and service installations" in the provinces southeast of Baghdad.

Thursday's strikes came after U.S. and British warplanes bombed three air-defense communications facilities in southern Iraq on Wednesday in response to reported missile attacks.

Iraq does not recognize the flight exclusion zones set up by Western powers after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to protect a Kurdish enclave in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south from attack by President Saddam Hussein's military.

U.S. officials say that firing at Western patrol jets by Iraqi defenses is a direct violation of a Nov. 8 U.N. resolution. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has disagreed with that interpretation.

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