Friday, December 18, 1998 Published at 23:09 GMT
Blair: Military action on target
Iraqis inspect the damage caused by the bombing raids
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the armed forces of Britain and the US are on course to achieving the military objectives in Iraq as British Tornados once again went into action.
"There is no doubt at all that we are significantly damaging Saddam Hussein's military capability and reducing therefore, again significantly, the threat that he poses to the region and to the world," said Mr Blair.
He insisted there was widespread support for the joint US/British action around the world but added that diplomacy was continuing.
"Today I have spoken, of course, to President Clinton, to Chancellor Schroeder, to President Chirac, to Crown Prince Abdullah, to President Mubarak and others, and I think there's a very great deal of understanding right around the world that Saddam Hussein does indeed pose a threat, that it is necessary indeed to make sure that we reduce that threat that he poses," he said.
She said the British pilots were ordered to target drone aircraft being developed by the Iraqis to deliver chemical and biological weapons.
"Twelve of these were sited in a hangar in a military complex. It was targeted by the RAF, hit and destroyed," she said.
Earlier, the Iraq leadership delivered a defiant response to the bomb attacks of the last two days.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, denounced the attacks as criminal aggression against the whole international community.
He blamed what he called a Zionist clique for creating the conditions for the attacks, and described the Chief UN weapons inspector, Richard Butler as a pawn of the United States and Britain.
"He is a man of the utmost integrity," he said. "He's dedicated his life to the principles of the UN."
Mr Blair also insisted that President Clinton was staying focused on the military action, despite the impeachment proceedings against him.
"I have always found him completely focused on this matter because it is so important," he said.