Thursday, December 17, 1998 Published at 11:02 GMT
US blasts Baghdad
One missile was reported to have hit a residential area
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Sirens sounded the all-clear in Baghdad after nearly six hours of sustained attack ordered by President Bill Clinton to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
The UK Government has said that its aircraft, which were not involved in the first strikes, are now getting ready for further bombing raids.
President Clinton said the attacks were necessary because the Iraqis had continued to defy UN weapons inspectors and placed new restrictions on their work.
But Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov called the strikes "outrageous" and said the UN Security Council would meet again to discuss the crisis. China has also condemned the action.
Iraqi doctors in Baghdad said at least five people had been killed and 30 wounded. There is no independent confirmation of this.
Saddam blasts US 'cowards'
Four separate raids were counted by witnesses in Baghdad. Reports said several missiles struck the city, one landing near one of the presidential palaces. Shortly after the attack began, Iraqi television and radio went off the air.
In a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency, he urged Iraqis to "fight the enemies of God, enemies of the nation, enemies of humanity".
As the missiles fell, Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries opened up across the city. BBC Baghdad Correspondent Jeremy Cooke said a series of deafening explosions echoed around the city, and the sky was lit up by tracer rounds and exploding shells.
One missile landed in a residential area of Baghdad, creating a big crater which filled with water from a burst water main. Reports said another had fallen inside Iran.
Avoiding Muslim holy month
Mr Clinton said the attacks were intended to protect the interests of the American people as well as the Middle East.
US Defence Secretary William Cohen announced that more air and ground forces were being sent to the Gulf. He said: "Iraq should not misunderstand our determination".
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said he deeply regretted the military strikes.
The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said he and Mr Clinton had "no option but to act" after more than a year of broken promises by Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said the report was full of falsehoods, and was merely aimed at justifying military strikes on Baghdad.
US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott criticised the action even before it was formally announced.
"I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time," he said.
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