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CONFRONTATION WITH IRAQ

U.S., British Patrollers Bomb Iraqi Missile Site

October 12, 2002|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Warplanes from the U.S.-British coalition enforcing "no-fly" zones in Iraq struck a missile site Friday southeast of Baghdad.

The Pentagon said Iraqi gunners had fired on coalition aircraft policing the zones 122 times since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein offered Sept. 16 to let U.N. weapons inspectors return.

"If there was ever a case of 'watch what he does, not what he says,' this is it," Defense Department spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told reporters before showing video of Iraqi launchers and radar being bombed.

Of the 122 firing incidents, 33 were against aircraft policing a no-fly zone over Iraq's north and 89 were against coalition aircraft in the southern no-fly zone, Navy Rear Adm. David Gove said.

Gove, the joint staff's deputy director for global operations, said the U.S.-British responses were against Iraqi launchers and the air defense system that supports the targeting of coalition aircraft.

In the latest incident, coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to attack a mobile surface-to-air missile site near Talil, about 170 miles southeast of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said.

The no-fly zones were set up after the 1991 Gulf War, in which a U.S.-led coalition drove Iraq from Kuwait. The zones, which Baghdad does not recognize, were imposed to protect Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south.

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