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Wednesday, January 6, 1999 Published at 14:44 GMT

Which targets were hit

Baghdad residents are assessing the scale of damage to the capital

The United States and Britain say their 70 hours of air strikes against Iraq:

  • Set back Baghdad's biological and chemical weapons programme

  • Damaged its ability to produce ballistic missiles

  • Disrupted its military command and control network

[ image:  ]

Click here to see the UK Ministry of Defence target maps from the Desert Fox campaign

They say the targets fell into two broad categories:

  • Facilities for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.

  • Saddam Hussein's political and military infrastructure, including air defence installations and airfields, ballistic missile production and repair facilities, command and control sites and bases of the elite Republican Guard force.

British officials say the Iraqi chemical and biological weapons programme - which sparked the current crisis - has been severely set back.

They say reconstituting Iraq's air defences following the damage caused in the attacks could take several years.

Watch the UK Ministry of Defence's slide show of damage to Iraqi military targets
At a defence ministry briefing, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said Iraq's ability to produce ballistic missiles had also been severely damaged, as had military radar and communications. The UK Ministry of Defence said that, provided sanctions remained in place, it would take at least a year to rebuild ballistic missile capability.

[ image: Strategic targets hit in Baghdad]
Strategic targets hit in Baghdad

National and regional headquarters of the elite Republican Guard were also a key focus of attack. The guard has been described as "the linchpin of Saddam's regime". It is considered the top force in the Iraqi army and fiercely loyal to Saddam Hussein.

Air Marshall John Day: "We have significantly damaged Saddam's ability to produce and repair ballistic missiles"
The Republican Guard is said to play a key role in the production and concealment of the Iraqi leader's weapons programme.

Government ministries, presidential palaces and buildings of the ruling Ba'ath Party in and around Baghdad were also hit. These are ostensibly political targets, but many of them are suspected of doubling as storage facilities for the weapons of mass destruction programme.

[ image: Post-strike images used to assess the damage]
Post-strike images used to assess the damage
The UK Ministry of Defence said there had been a successful attack against an oil refining facility which they had identified as a source of illegal oil shipments through the Gulf used to finance the development of weapons of mass destruction.

Also attacked was a programme for developing an unmanned aerial vehicle capable for use in delivering biological and chemical weapons.

In all around 100 separate targets came under attack in Desert Fox. Most are in the lowland areas between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from Tikrit in the north to the southern port city of Basra.

Over 400 cruise missiles - each one costing $750,000 - were fired from US ships in the Gulf and from B-52 bombers. The Iraqis say they shot down around a quarter of these.

Casualties and claims

[ image: America's B-1 bomber was used for the first time in combat]
America's B-1 bomber was used for the first time in combat
Nonetheless more cruise missiles were fired on Iraq in Desert Fox than during the entire Gulf War in 1991, although this time defence officials have been more circumspect in their assessments of their impact. Back then initial statements of success had to be severely scaled back as it became clear that many of the weapons had missed their targets or inflicted less than crippling damage.

Funeral services have been held for 68 people who Iraqi officials say were killed in the raids. But Iraq's Ambassador to the UN, Nizar Hamdoon, said: "I'm told that the casualties are in the thousands in terms of numbers of people who were killed or wounded."

[ image: An unknown number of civilians have been injured or killed]
An unknown number of civilians have been injured or killed
Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said 62 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 180 wounded in the attacks. He did not detail civilian casualties, saying only that they were much higher.

But because the Iraqi authorities control journalists' access to damage sites, confirmation of this has been impossible. The UK Ministry of Defence said it was not certain that the full facts about Iraqi casualties would ever be known.

The Iraqi authorities say the air strikes deliberately targeted civilian facilities including hospitals, colleges, residential areas of Baghdad and food storage areas.

See where civilian facilities were hit in this assessment from BBC World
Several weeks after the strikes, the UN children's fund, Unicef, made a first preliminary assessment of damage to civilian facilities. They said a warehouse containing rice was destroyed in Tikrit in northern Iraq, ten schools in the southern port city of Basra were damaged, and an agricultural college in Kirkuk in northern Iraq received a direct hit.

They said that in Baghdad medical and maternity centres, a water supply system and parts of the health and social affairs ministries were damaged.

[ image:  ]
Following Iraqi claims of civilian casualties, the UK Ministry of Defence held a briefing showing detailed slides of damaged targets, including one target - a military garrison - where there had been a near miss. This was shown to illustrate that even the misses came close enough to cause considerable damage.

British Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Marshal Sir John Day, said 85% of the targets attacked were hit, and 74% of them suffered significant damage.

Another of the pictures at the briefing showed damage to the Iraqi Ministry of Industry in Baghdad, which was assessed by the US and British forces to be the administrative centre for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme.

Officials said the images showed how precise the targetting had been.

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