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Anti-Aircraft Guns Fire in Iraq

December 17, 1998

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Anti-aircraft guns opened fire over Baghdad shortly after midnight Thursday, and orange tracers lighted the sky. The guns let loose volley after volley of shots from rooftops in the Iraqi capital as the United States and Britain announced airstrikes.

President Saddam Hussein said several targets in Iraq were hit, and accused the United States and Britain of cowardice for using long-range missiles instead of fighting face-to-face.

In a statement carried by the official Iraqi News Agency, Saddam urged Iraqis to ``Fight the enemies of God, enemies of the nation, enemies of humanity.″

``God will be on your side and disgrace will be theirs, now and on the day of the judgment,″ said the statement.

Saddam said the ``wicked people bombarded several targets on the soil of your great Iraq, thinking that they will twist your great will and your determination.″

He did not say how many targets were hit.

Saddam said he was sure that what hurt Iraqis more was not the attacks but the fact that the aggressor did not ``come to meet you face to face″ and depended ``on a long technological arm, which is not a measure of bravery.″

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