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American and British aircraft raid Baghdad Iraq TV says children were killed in the raid By Adel Darwish United States and British Bombers carried out bombing raids on suburb of The Iraq capital Baghdad this evening local time. Air raid sirens were heard at about 1930 local time in Baghdad, and there were reports of anti aircraft fire and loud explosions. "Baghdad has come under attack by American aggressors," an Iraqi television presenter announced Shortly afterwards. Iraqi television interrupted its programmes and started to broadcast national songs. The Pentagon said the targets were Iraqi command and control centres south of Baghdad to safeguard allied air patrols over a southern no-fly zone. The Iraqis say children were hit and three children have died in the attack. A pentagon spokesman said they hit five command control and radar systems north of the 33 Parallel, but emphasised that non of the aircraft moved north of the line, but used missiles to fire from a distance. The spokesman said the Iraqis have lately shown 'signs of sophistication ' when they were switching their raiders on to fire on American and British aircraft patrolling the no fly zone. The spokesman wouldn't say what the British aircraft did exactly and refused to answer questions about the roles of each party. In London A British Ministry of Defence spokesman said the raids were in response to an increased threat to allied aircraft from Iraq's missile defences in recent weeks. This is a departure from the policy carried out by the Clinton administration by collecting intelligence data and launch an attack later rather than responding to an immediate attack that happens while the aircraft are patrolling the area. This also the first time the Iraqi capital comes under attack since operation Desert Fox in December 1998. While the Pentagon claims that the attack was outside Baghdad. Al-Jazria TV showed pictures of antiaircraft tracer fires flaring over the capital tonight. The 32 parallel marks the northern end of the southern no-fly zone imposed by Britain and France to protect the Shia in the south from Saddam Hussein's attacks. But the Iraq and some international lawyers say such imposition is illegal and lacks the UN authorisation. France pulled out of the patrolling operation leaving Britain and America alone. Strategy experts say that if the Iraqis were able to fire at Anglo-American aircraft from outside the no-fly-zone, then the whole concept of a no-fly-zone is non-sense any way. Analysts and diplomats here in London believe that the raid was ill-conceived and will back fire causing more problems to the two countries' interests in the region at a time when America's popularity among Arabs is in its lowest point as a result of the daily Israeli-Palestinian clashes. Many Arabs believe that America is not pressurizing Israeli enough to help end the violence. It looks like new president George Bush is putting on a display of strength at a time when the United States policy in the Middle East is failing to make an impact on the very explosive situation between Israel and the Palestinians, and surly will increase, the already boiling Arab anger against America. Once more it makes the Iraqi dictator the winner in the game while his people go on paying the heavy price. Adel Darwish, Media consultant & Writer on Foreign Affairs Editor of World Media Uk, London URL: http://www.mideastnews.com *********************************************** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk