U.S. Bombs Northern Iraqi Air Defense Site

U.S. warplanes bombed an air defense site in northern Iraq on Monday after being fired upon by Iraqi forces while patrolling a no-fly zone, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. European Command based in Stuttgart, Germany, said Iraqi forces fired anti-aircraft artillery at coalition planes near the northern city of Mosul.

"Coalition aircraft responded in self-defense to the Iraqi attacks by dropping precision guided munitions," the statement said.

Iraq considers the patrols, set up following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a violation of its sovereignty and frequently shoots at the American and British planes. The no-fly zones were set up over southern and northern Iraq to protect the Kurdish and Shiite Muslim minorities.

The planes enforcing the northern no-fly zone are based at Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.

Also Monday, U.S. aircraft dropped 240,000 leaflets over communications facilities in southern Iraq, about 100-150 miles southeast of Baghdad. The sites, between the cities of Al Kut and An Nasiriyah, were damaged by U.S. airstrikes Sunday.

Two of the leaflet messages urged the Iraqi military not to repair the communications facilities, while a third warned that Iraqi firing on U.S. and British aircraft flying over southern Iraq could trigger more allied attacks.

It was the sixth leaflet drop in the last two months over southern Iraq.