Two U.S. Planes Shot Down Today; American Killed
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ Two U.S. warplanes were shot down by anti-aircraft fire today, the U.S. military command said, and an American serviceman was killed, apparently by friendly fire.
Marine Maj. Gen. Robert Johnston also there had been little ground activity near the Kuwaiti border. A Saudi military briefer said later that five Iraqi tanks attempting to cross into Saudi Arabia were repulsed by Qatari tanks Friday night. Four Iraqi tanks were destroyed, the fifth fled north, said Col. Ahmed al-Robayan.
The planes - an A-10 and an A-6 - were shot down apparently by anti- aircraft artillery, Johnston told reporters at a briefing in Riyadh.
Johnston would give no further details about how many people were aboard the planes or where they had been shot down because search and rescue operations were continuing.
The A-10 is used as a close-support aircraft, especially against tanks. It has a one-person crew. The A-6 Intruder is a low-level attack bomber and has a crew of two.
The latest losses bring to 15 the number of American planes downed in combat. Five British planes, one Kuwaiti warplane and one Italian jet have also been downed since the Gulf War began Jan. 17.
The death occurred early today when a Marine convoy apparently was hit by cluster bombs, Johnston said. Two other Marines were wounded.
″The cluster bombs we’re talking about was far enough removed from the front lines that one would make a stronger conclusion it was in fact friendly fire″ than the attack that killed 11 Marines several days ago, Johnston said.
He would not specify where the incident happened.
The death brought to 12 the number of American servicemen killed in the war.
Johnston also said allied air attacks continued around the clock, with about 2,600 sorties today. He said one attack on Iraq’s elite Republican Guard scattered about 300 Iraqi vehicles. On Friday night, another Scud missile site was destroyed, he said.
Iraq has fired the Scuds at cities in Israel and Saudi Arabia.