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U.S. Fires Missile at Iraqi No-Fly Zone Radar

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 2, 1998 – A U.S. F-16 fighter jet attacked a radar site in the southern no-fly zone of Iraq June 30 after the Iraqis "lit up" patrolling British Tornado aircraft.

All coalition aircraft in the area sensed the Iraqi radar, said Defense Secretary William S. Cohen during a Pentagon news conference. "Coalition aircraft must protect themselves," he said. "We are engaging very vigorously in force protection."

The F-16 attacked the Iraqi site with a High-speed Anti-radiation Missile, or HARM, which homes in on enemy radar and forces the site to shut down or be destroyed. Cohen called the attack an appropriate response, but could not say whether the missile hit the radar.

Ten coalition aircraft were patrolling the no-fly zone near Al Basrah, Iraq, as part of Operation Southern Watch at the time of the incident. The aircraft returned to base. Other Southern Watch pilots continued flying routine sorties throughout the zone following the incident.

Cohen told reporters not to draw conclusions from what could be an isolated incident. He said the coalition allies have not observed any changes in Iraqi forces in the area. There are no signs of Iraqi escalation and he said U.S. forces in the area are adequate.

Iraqi officials charged the U.S. with "unjustifiable aggression."

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