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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK

World: Middle East

Iraq reports attacks outside no-fly zones

The death toll is the highest reported since Operation Desert Fox

The Iraqi Government says 19 civilians have been killed and several others injured in new raids by western military aircraft outside the air exclusion zones over northern and southern Iraq.

It is the first time that Iraq has reported raids outside the zones since it stepped up its defiance of them last December.

[ image: Western military officials have only reported attacking targets near Mosul]
Western military officials have only reported attacking targets near Mosul
The death toll is the highest reported by Iraq in a single day since the four-day Desert Fox air campaign last December.

"The enemy crows committed a new crime today against civilian targets, service installations and residential buildings outside the so-called no-fly zones," a military spokesman is quoted as saying by the official Iraqi News Agency (INA).

Baghdad does not recognise the air exclusion zones and frequently challenges American and British aircraft patrolling them.

The spokesman said US and British planes from bases in Turkey hit civilian and military targets south of the 36 parallel in the morning. A subsequent attack took place in the early afternoon, north of the 33 parallel, by planes based in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Later INA reported that another attack had hit a residential building in Jassan, 170 km (106 miles) southeast of Baghdad near the border with Iran.

Missile sites

[ image: Iraq has accused western aircraft of targeting civilian areas]
Iraq has accused western aircraft of targeting civilian areas
Information ministry officials said reporters would be taken to the scene on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day US military officials reported that its aircraft had attacked surface-to-air missile sites in the northern air exclusion zone near the city of Mosul 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Baghdad.

Western officials have insisted that their aircrews will take whatever action necessary to defend themselves from attack.

US and British jets have been patrolling the northern and southern no-fly zones since they were set up at the end of the 1991 Gulf War to protect Kurdish and Muslim Shiite minorities from the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

. Last week a report by the United Nations children's fund, Unicef, said that international sanctions imposed against Iraq had caused the deaths of up to half a million Iraqi children.

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