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Allied Aircraft Strike Iraq Again

October 3, 2001

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Allied warplanes attacked military installations in southern Iraq on Wednesday, the second such airstrike in two days, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Warplanes struck two anti-aircraft artillery sites in Shahban, 225 miles southeast of Baghdad, in response to threats against planes patrolling the southern no-fly zone Wednesday, said Chief Petty Officer David Nagle.

Nagle, spokesman for the Saudi-based U.S.-British Joint Task Force Southwest Asia, did not elaborate on the nature of the threats. All aircraft returned safely to base, he said.

No damage assessment was available, and Iraqi officials did not immediately comment on the strikes.

A day earlier, U.S. and British aircraft attacked an Iraqi military installation at Al-Hallah, 265 miles southeast of Baghdad.

Iraqi sites have fired on or otherwise threatened U.S.-British aircraft more than 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 _ installed after Baghdad’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait _ illegal and has vowed to challenge coalition planes patrolling it.

Update hourly