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Iraq Protests U.S. Airstrike

Iraq has protested a U.S. airstrike that reportedly killed three Iraqis and wounded 16 others in the nation's south, calling it a material breach to Security Council resolutions.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri described the Dec. 26 airstrike as "a barbaric and terrorist act, with a direct participation of the rulers of Kuwait, and it represents a material breach to the Security Council resolutions."

Sabri said that the imposition of the no-fly zone by the United States and Britain is a challenge to international law and the U.N. Charter. He called on Annan to inform the Security Council about "such aggression" and the danger it poses to world security.

He said the United States, Britain and Kuwait should be held legally responsible for such "terrorist aggression."

Naji's letter was dated Dec. 30, but it was faxed to The Associated Press office in Baghdad on Tuesday.

The official Iraqi News Agency said last week that three civilians were killed and 16 others wounded in an attack by American and British warplanes on "civil and service installations" in Basra and Nasiryah provinces in southern Iraq.

The U.S. military has said the attack targeted Iraqi military command and communications sites in southern Iraq in a "self-defense" measure that came in response to the Iraqi military's downing of an American unmanned surveillance drone three days earlier.

The no-fly zones were set up soon after the 1991 Gulf War to protect minority Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south from Iraqi government forces. Iraq does not recognize the zones and routinely challenges the American and British aircraft patrolling them. U.S. and British planes frequently fire back.