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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Iraq 'shoots down US plane'
Iraqi TV pictures of wreckage of what it said was a spy plane
Iraq claimed a similar "kill" last month
Iraq says it has shot down a US spy plane over the south of the country.

The official Iraqi News Agency (INA) said the plane was brought down near the port city of Basra.

(The spy plane) was used to provide the American enemy with information concerning our installations, vital sites and our air-defence formations

Iraqi official
"Iraqi anti-aircraft fire in the region of Basra on Tuesday brought down an American spy plane," INA reported.

Maj. Brett Morris, spokesman for a US-British military task force in the Persian Gulf, told the Associated Press the coalition force had lost an unmanned aircraft on Tuesday similar to a US spy plane lost last month.

INA said the plane was shot down at 1130 local time (0730 GMT) and wreckage from the "highly advanced" plane was being collected.

The news agency quoted an unnamed Iraqi Air Defence Command official as saying: "The plane was coming from Kuwaiti territory and it was used to provide the American enemy with information concerning our installations, vital sites and our air-defence formations."

Second plane shot down

If confirmed, it will be the second US spy plane shot down in Iraq in the past two weeks.

Iraq said its forces shot down an unmanned Predator plane in the Basra area, 560 kilometres (350 miles) south of Baghdad on 27 August.

The US Defense Department acknowledged losing a plane at that time but did not confirm the circumstances.

The United States and Britain frequently fly sorties over no-fly zones over north and south Iraq, imposed after the Gulf War.

Iraq refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the zones and has stepped up efforts to shoot down allied planes over the past few months.

See also:

10 Sep 01 | Middle East
'Eight killed' in Iraq raids
28 Aug 01 | Middle East
Iraq celebrates 'downing' US plane
27 Aug 01 | Middle East
Iraq 'shoots down' US spy plane
14 Aug 01 | Middle East
US planes attack Iraq
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
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