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Bombings continue - civilians harmed

Iraq: Southern City Hit by Missile

By Leon Barkho, Associated Press Writer, Monday, January 25, 1999; 8:38
a.m. EST

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- U.S. missiles hit at least two residential areas
in and around the southern Iraqi city of Basra today, Iraq reported. The
information minister said several people were killed and dozens wounded.
The minister, Humam Abdel-Khaliq, spoke with reporters shortly after the
official Iraqi News Agency said a missile hit the al-Jumhuriya
neighborhood of Basra at 9:30 a.m. The agency reported another strike 40
minutes later. It accused the jets of targeting ``heavily populated
areas'' and said they hit the village of Abu al-Khaseeb near Basra, the
Basra airport and an oil field. Civil defense teams were ferrying
wounded to hospitals and trying to recover bodies from the rubble of
buildings, INA said. 

Abdel-Khaliq said the planes that fired the missiles ``came from Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia.'' Gunnery Sgt. Frank Leyhew, a spokesman with U.S.
Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said American jets fired at an Iraqi
surface-to-air missile site and associated, integrated air-defense
systems north of Basra ``in response to Iraqi incursions in the no-fly
zone.'' He said the U.S. jets were threatened by Iraqi ground artillery
and four Iraqi MiGs. Leyhew said Air Force and Navy jets were involved
and all returned safely to their bases. ``Iraqi actions and intentions
pose serious threats to our air crews, and our actions today are an
appropriate response to these threats,'' he said. In London, the Defense
Ministry said British warplanes were not involved.

Abdel-Khaliq also said that Arab League foreign ministers had given the
United States and Britain ``an Arab green card'' to attack Iraq at will
by refusing Sunday to condemn the U.S.-British airstrikes on Iraq in
December. That bombardment was aimed at punishing Iraq for failing to
cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors. The foreign ministers did
express ``deep concern at the use of military option against Iraq'' and
urged dialogue. Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf stormed
out of the meeting in protest. 


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