News

DATE=1/13/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-244124 TITLE=IRAQ-WEDNESDAY - L BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: U-S OFFICIALS SAY AMERICAN WARPLANES ATTACKED SEVERAL IRAQI ANTI-AIRCRAFT SITES WEDNESDAY, HITTING AT LEAST TWO OF THEM. A PENTAGON SPOKESMAN SAYS IRAQ PROVOKED THE STRIKES BY FIRING A MISSILE AT THE PLANES PATROLLING IRAQ'S NORTHERN NO-FLY ZONE. THIS IS THE SEVENTH CONFRONTATION BETWEEN ALLIED PLANES AND IRAQI FORCES SINCE DECEMBER'S AIR RAIDS ON IRAQ'S SUSPECTED HIDING PLACES FOR BANNED WEAPONS. V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS FROM THE PENTAGON. TEXT: PENTAGON SPOKESMAN STEVE CAMPBELL SAYS COALITION PLANES WERE PATROLLING THE NORTHERN NO-FLY ZONE NEAR MOSUL, WHEN IRAQI FORCES POINTED SEVERAL MISSILE RADARS AT THEM. HE SAYS "THERE ARE INDICATIONS" THAT IRAQI TROOPS FIRED AT LEAST ONE SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE AT THE PLANES. LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CAMPBELL SAYS U-S PLANES FIRED AT THE IRAQI SURFACE TO AIR MISSILE SITES. HE SAYS THEY PROBABLY HIT AT LEAST TWO OF THEM. U-S AND BRITISH OFFICIALS DENY IRAQI CLAIMS THAT AT LEAST ONE AMERICAN PLANE WAS HIT. OFFICIALS IN BAGHDAD SAID U-S AND BRITISH PLANES VIOLATED IRAQI AIR SPACE AND DROPPED AT LEAST FOUR BOMBS "ON CIVILIAN POSITIONS" HITTING A HOUSE. U-S OFFICIALS ALSO SAY SOME IRAQI PLANES WERE VIOLATING A "NO FLY ZONE" BUT WERE NOT INVOLVED IN WEDNESDAY'S INCIDENTS. THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ALLIES SET UP THE NORTHERN NO-FLY ZONE IN 1991 TO PROTECT IRAQI KURDS AFTER A FAILED UPRISING AGAINST IRAQI LEADER SADDAM HUSSEIN. THE SOUTHERN ZONE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1992 TO PROTECT SHI'ITE MUSLIMS FROM GOVERNMENT ATTACKS. BAGHDAD CALLS THE ZONES ILLEGAL AND A VIOLATION OF IRAQI SOVEREIGNTY. BAGHDAD STEPPED UP ITS MILITARY CHALLENGES TO THE ZONES AFTER DECEMBER'S ALLIED AIR RAIDS ON IRAQ. THOSE STRIKES WERE AIMED AT PUNISHING IRAQ FOR REFUSING TO FULLY COOPERATE WITH U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS. THE INSPECTORS WERE CHARGED WITH RIDDING IRAQ OF ITS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND THE MISSILES NEEDED TO DELIVER THEM. U-S OFFICIALS SAY WEDNESDAY'S INCIDENT IS PART OF AN INCREASINGLY AGGRESSIVE IRAQI CHALLENGE TO THE NO-FLY ZONES. THEY SAY BAGHDAD HAS DOUBLED THE NUMBER OF SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILES IN THE FLIGHT EXCLUSION ZONES, AND IS USING THEM MORE AGGRESSIVELY AND MORE OFTEN. (SIGNED). NEB/JR/TMD/JO 13-Jan-99 11:47 AM EST (1647 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .