Wednesday, July 1, 1998 Published at 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
World: Middle East
Iraq condemns 'US aggression'
A US Air Force F-16CJ refuels over Iraq (USAF Photo)
The authorities in Iraq have said that a missile fired by a United States jet at an Iraqi missile battery was an act of unjustified aggression.
The US Government has sought to play down fears of an escalation. It said the attack was an isolated incident and there was no reason for it to increase the American military presence in the region.
A BBC correspondent says that behind the scenes American officials are anticipating the swift resumption of business as usual.
The Tornados took evasive action and a specially equipped American fighter, an F-16 CJ, was called in.
This carries a high-speed missile known by the acronym Harm (High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile), which homes in on the radar signal and follows it back to the transmitter.
One Harm missile was fired at an Iraqi anti-aircraft battery. Iraq has said that the missile hit a reservoir unconnected to the military.
All the aircraft returned safely to base.
There is constant patrolling by Western aircraft, with the constant potential for a clash.
There have been several similar episodes where US aircraft have fired on Iraqi air defences, believing they were threatened, but this is the first incident since 1996, raising questions about its significance.
The US has been resisting any relaxation, saying Baghdad has still not made a full disclosure of its weapons of mass destruction.