U.S.-British aircraft hit artillery site in Iraq

Tuesday, October 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ U.S. and British aircraft fired on an anti-aircraft artillery site in Iraq's southern ``no-fly'' zone Tuesday, a U.S. military official said.

All U.S. and British aircraft returned safely to base after the strike at Al-Hallah, 265 miles southeast of Baghdad, said Chief Petty Officer David Nagle, a spokesman for the U.S.-British Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, which is responsible for patrolling the southern ``no-fly'' zone.

Nagle said the strikes were provoked by Iraqi threats but did not specify their nature. Iraqi sites have fired on or otherwise threatened U.S.-British aircraft at least 400 times this year, according to the United States and Britain.

U.S. and British aircraft patrol southern and northern ``no-fly'' zones to prevent Iraqi forces from attacking Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south and to provide early warning of any Iraqi troop movements toward Kuwait.

Iraq considers the ``no-fly'' zones illegal and has vowed to shoot down any coalition planes. The zones were established after the 1991 Gulf War.