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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
'Eight killed' in Iraq raids
Iraqi missile expert kneels beside unexploded missile allegedly fired by US plane on 4 September
Iraq says this missile was fired in an earlier air raid
Eight people were killed and three others injured in a Western missile strike south-east of Baghdad on Sunday, the official Iraqi news agency (INA) has reported.

It said a number of farms had been hit in an attack by US and British planes patrolling the southern no-fly zone.

"America and Britain committed yet another savage aggression that targeted Iraqi civilians when their planes attacked the al-Salihiya area in Wasit province, killing eight and wounding three," INA said.

The Pentagon has said that US Air Force F-16, Navy F-18 and British Tornado GR-4 aircraft struck missile sites near al-Numinayah, al-Kut and Tallil, all south-east of Baghdad.

It said all the planes returned safely to base.

Iraqi techonology 'improving'

The United States has accused Iraq of upgrading its military technology and developing weapons of mass destruction in the absence of international monitoring.

Speaking shortly after the raids, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Iraqi efforts had been gathering pace since UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in late 1998.

US and British warplanes have carried out four other attacks on Iraqi air defences since 25 August to enforce the no-fly zones imposed after the 1991 Gulf War.

But Washington says Iraq has improved the effectiveness of its air defences, posing a greater danger to allied planes.

Mr Rumsfeld said the Iraqis had been "working diligently to increase their capabilities in every aspect of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology".

Speaking on Fox television, he said: "That problem, particularly biological weapons, over the coming decade is going to be an increasingly serious one".

A variety of techniques would be needed to hit Iraqi weapons sites, some of which were mobile or underground, he added.

See also:

05 Sep 01 | Middle East
Iraq says UN officials were 'spies'
30 Aug 01 | Middle East
US strikes at Iraqi radar
08 Aug 01 | Middle East
Saddam renews no-fly zone warning
30 Aug 01 | Middle East
Iraq tops world 'disappeared' list
26 Feb 01 | Middle East
Eyewitness: Bitter legacy of sanctions
29 Jun 01 | Middle East
Iraq outburst over UN sanctions
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