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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
US strikes at Iraqi radar
F 16 fighter plane
The attack was carried out by four F 16 fighter jets
American fighter planes have attacked an Iraqi radar site at Basra airport, US defence officials said.

It was the third bombing of military targets in southern Iraq in the past week.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity said the Basra airport radar was not active at the time of the attack, but had been used in the past to co-ordinate Iraqi air attacks on US and British aircraft in southern Iraq.

Four F-16 attack jets carried out the raid with precision-guided weapons and returned safely to bases in a neighbouring country.

The attack was part of a continuing attempt to degrade Iraq's capability to shoot down US and British warplanes patrolling two "no-fly" zones in Iraq, the officials said.

Series of attacks

Last Saturday, US and British warplanes attacked a mobile radar in southern Iraq, and on Tuesday they hit an Iraqi aircraft command and control facility, officials said.

Iraq said Tuesday's strikes had killed two civilian men in a remote village, far from any military position.

On Monday, the US Air Force lost an unmanned Predator reconnaissance plane near Basra.

The Iraqis said they had shot it down, but the Pentagon said it was unsure whether it had been hit by hostile fire or had crashed on its own.

It was the first American or British airplane to be lost over Iraq since "no fly" zone patrols began 10 years ago.

Western planes patrol two "no-fly zones" in northern and southern Iraq, regularly attacking targets, and regularly coming under fire from Iraqi defences.

See also:

29 Aug 01 | Middle East
Air strike 'killed Iraqi civilians'
27 Aug 01 | Middle East
Iraq 'shoots down' US spy plane
26 Jul 01 | Middle East
Bush to counter Iraq 'menace'
26 Jul 01 | Middle East
Iraq 'nearly downs' US spy plane
03 Jul 01 | Middle East
Iraq escapes 'smart sanctions'
02 Jul 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Iraq wins sanctions battle
17 Feb 01 | Middle East
Iraq defiant over missile attack
28 Aug 01 | Middle East
US hits back at Iraq
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