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U.S., British Jets Strike Iraq Zone

October 03, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Allied warplanes launched an airstrike in the southern "no-fly" zone over Iraq after Iraqi aircraft penetrated the restricted area, defense officials said Wednesday.

The strike brought to 45 the number reported this year by U.S. and British patrols in the zones set up to protect Iraqi minorities after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The Iraqis "placed a mobile radar south of the 33rd parallel," the boundary for the southern zone, said Navy Cmdr. Frank Merriman, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. "And they flew military aircraft into the zone."

He declined to say how many aircraft.

Coalition planes responded, targeting precision-guided weapons at the mobile radar in the city of Al Kut on Tuesday, a statement from the command said.

It was the sixth time in a month that coalition aircraft have struck at Al Kut, about 100 miles southeast of Baghdad. Pentagon officials said Iraqis keep moving mobile radar to the area.

The amount of any damage from Tuesday's strike was not known.

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