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Iraq Claims 18 Die in U.S. Attack

August 17, 1999

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ U.S. warplanes bombed Iraqi surface-to-air missile sites Tuesday after Iraqi forces targeted the planes with artillery fire during a routine patrol of the northern no-fly zone, the U.S. military said.

The Iraqi military said U.S. and British warplanes attacked sites in both northern and southern Iraq, killing 19 people and injuring 11 others.

The official Iraqi News Agency quoted the military as saying 11 people died and one was seriously injured in a bombing in the southern province of Wassit, 110 miles south of Baghdad. The report said eight people were killed and nine injured in other attacks in the northern zone. It did not specify where.

INA quoted the Iraqi military as saying the bombardments targeted ``civil and service installations, people’s houses and military positions″ in the northern no-fly zone.

The Germany-based U.S. European Command said Air Force F-16s and F-15s bombed a missile site west of the city of Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad, and a missile support system south of Mosul.

The coalition planes left the area safely, the military said.

The Iraqi military said allied warplanes also led attacks over the southern part of the country, ``leading to the injury of one innocent person.″

There was no independent confirmation of the strikes in the south.

U.S. and British jets have been enforcing no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, set up after the 1991 Persian Gulf War to protect Kurdish and Muslim Shiite minorities from the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad has challenged the allied planes regularly since Dec. 28, saying the zones violate its sovereignty and international law.

Iraq claimed three people were killed and nine wounded in attacks Monday in the south. Three people were reported wounded and a mosque destroyed in an attack on the north on Sunday.

The attack Tuesday coincided with a visit by Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the U.S. joint Chiefs of Staff, to Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, where he was expected to inspect members of the Air Force patrolling the northern no-fly zone.

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