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AND ONCE AGAIN THE US PRESIDENT AND OUR DEAR LEADER ARE ON HOLIDAY. IS PARLIAMENT, CONGRESS AND THE UN TOTALLY REDUNDANT? OR IS MY KNOWLEDGE OF POLITICAL NICETIES AND THE ROLE OF THE UN PATHETIC? ANSWERS ON AN EMAAIL PC PLEASE .. best felicity a. ---------- From: Sandeep Vaidya <email@example.com> To: No Sanctions! <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [no-sanctions] Major bombing, not routine Date: Fri, Aug 10, 2001, 6:56 pm AUG 10, 2001 U.S. and British Warplanes Attack Air Defense Targets in Iraq By REUTERS Filed at 11:26 a.m. ET WASHINGTON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Dozens of U.S. and British warplanes using guided missiles and bombs attacked three air defense sites in southern Iraq on Friday in a raid targeting Baghdad's increasingly sophisticated air defense network, the Pentagon said. ``About 50 coalition warplanes, 20 of which were strike aircraft, hit three targets. All aircraft returned safely to bases,'' Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Reuters. The jets struck an air defense control center that uses fiber-optic communications cables to integrate Iraq's air defenses, an anti-aircraft missile site and a long-range radar station, all located southeast of Baghdad in a southern ``no-fly'' zone. Whitman and officials at the British Defense Ministry in London said the strike occurred at 5:30 a.m. Washington time (0930 GMT) and about midday Iraqi time. A British official said the targets were hit and that exact damage was being assessed. The attack, similar to a major raid against the same defenses in February, followed stepped-up efforts by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's military this year to shoot down U.S. and British warplanes that have been policing no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War. No western warplanes have been shot down over the years. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a recent news conference that Iraq was improving its air defenses ``both quantitatively and qualitatively'' with fiber-optic communications cabling. ``SELF-DEFENSE'' STRIKE ``The main aim of the strike was to protect our aircraft and our pilots - and obviously the way you do that is to degrade his (Saddam's) ability to target and hit us. Our focus and our reason for the strike was a self-defense measure,'' said Army Col. Rick Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. Asked whether the weapons had hit their targets, he said that ``battle damage assessment'' had not been completed. Defense officials said the fiber-optic air defense control center is located near an-Numaniyah, southeast of Baghdad. The radar and anti-aircraft missile bases are farther southeast of Iraq's capital, near an-Nasiriyah. It was the second time this week that allied planes struck Iraqi targets in the no-fly zones, although the earlier and smaller raid in the northern zone on Sunday was simply to hit back directly at anti-aircraft weapons that had fired on the planes. Whitman told Reuters that the fiber-optic center struck on Friday was also bombed in February. He said precision-guided munitions were used. Such weapons include missiles and bombs, which are guided to precise aiming points using satellites. The United States had on Wednesday quickly rejected a warning from Saddam in a major speech to stop sending U.S. planes over the no-fly zones. U.S. officials said pilots would continue attacking Iraqi air defenses in response to attempts to shoot down their planes. INCREASING ATTEMPTS BY IRAQ At the same time, President George W. Bush said while on vacation in Texas that Saddam continued to be ``a menace'' to his neighbors and to stability in the region. Pentagon officials said last month that the Iraqi military came close to hitting a high-altitude U.S. U-2 spy plane with a missile on July 24. The United States also accused Iraq of apparently firing anti-aircraft missiles into both Kuwaiti and Saudi airspace on two recent occasions. Rumsfeld said last month that Iraq had made major improvements in its air defenses since the February raid on the southern air defense network. Both Friday's raid and the February strike were much bigger in scope than dozens of tit-for-tat retaliatory air strikes against smaller Iraqi air defense targets over the past decade. The United States said in February that Chinese technicians were helping Iraq lay fiber-optic cables to integrate its air defenses. U.S. and British warplanes have patrolled no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since the Gulf War, when Iraqi troops were ousted from Kuwait by a U.S.-led coalition. Iraq was banned from using all aircraft in the zones set up by Western powers to protect minority Kurds and Shiites from attack by Saddam's forces. ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~--> Small business owners... Tell us what you think! http://us.click.yahoo.com/vO1FAB/txzCAA/ySSFAA/WfTolB/TM ---------------------------------------------------------------------~-> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: email@example.com Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/ -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk