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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
US expels Iraqi 'spy'
The UN building in New York
The UN has seen clashes between the US and Iraq
The United States has ordered the expulsion of an Iraqi diplomat based at the United Nations in New York.

He is accused of espionage.

A note was delivered to Iraq's mission to the UN on the city's Upper East Side, asking that he leave.

Saddam Hussein
President Bush has made no secret of his dislike for Saddam Hussein
A US official said the action was taken because the man had engaged in "activities incompatible with his diplomatic status" - diplomatic-speak for spying.

The diplomat was named in reports as Abdul Rahman Saad, a first secretary at the Iraqi mission.

"We expect him to be out by the end of June," said Richard Grenell, a spokesman for John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN.

Iraq has 24 hours to challenge the expulsion.

Tense relations

The BBC's Nick Childs, in Washington, says the American demand will only add fuel to an already volatile relationship.

US President George W Bush has described Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea, as an "axis of evil" because of what he says is their support for terrorist groups.

It is no secret that his administration wants to see the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

And since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, US and British aircraft have continued to fly missions over Iraq.

No-fly zones

Friday saw US aircraft bomb an Iraqi military facility in response to an attack against planes monitoring the "no-fly zone" in southern Iraq, American officials said.

The strike hit a radar facility at Al-Amarah, about 165 miles (265 kilometres) south-east of the Iraqi capital Baghdad at 0520 local time (0920 GMT).

It was intended as a response to Iraqi fire on coalition planes on Thursday.

A statement from US Central Command, which oversees the patrols by British and American air forces, said that the strikes were "a self-defence measure in response to hostile Iraqi acts against coalition forces and their aircraft".

It is not clear what damage was caused to the Iraqi facility.

American and British military officials have expressed concern that Iraqi attacks in the zone have become more aggressive in recent months.

The zones were created to protect the Kurdish population in the north and the Shia population in the south.

Iraq does not recognise the zones, which are not covered by any UN Security Council resolution.

Baghdad claims that US and British air strikes have killed 1,477 people and injured 1,358 since the no-fly zones were set up.

The figures have not been independently confirmed.


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