Published August 15, 2002
WASHINGTON – Aircraft from the U.S.-British coalition patrolling southern Iraq bombed two Iraqi air defense sites Wednesday, the U.S. Central Command said.
The attack with precision-guided weapons at about 5 p.m. EDT was a response to Iraqi actions threatening coalition planes patrolling the southern no-fly zone, a Central Command statement said.
The strike was the latest in a series of incidents in the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. Coalition planes struck an Iraqi military communications facility on Aug. 5.
The no-fly zones were created after the 1991 Gulf War to protect Iraqi dissident populations from President Saddam Hussein's military. Saddam says the zones are a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and his military often tries to shoot down warplanes patrolling the areas.
Central Command says Iraq has fired on coalition planes 85 times this year. The command, based in Tampa, Fla., is responsible for the region.