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U.S. launches air strikes on Iraq

Posted February. 18, 2001 12:48,   


In its first military action since coming to power in January, the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush launched air raids on Iraq Friday, heightening Middle East tensions at a time when Israelis and Palestinians are engaging in some of their bloodiest clashes in recent memory.

Iraq announced plans to retaliate for the U.S. air strike while Russia and China strongly condemned Washington`s move, calling it a threat to international security. France called the raids "improper."

The U.S. Defense Department said the raids were launched Friday night (Korean Standard Time: at dawn Saturday) on five Iraqi air defense and radar sites south of Baghdad. The bases had posed a military threat to U.S. and British fighter-bombers monitoring the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq. The fighters returned safely after completing their mission. It is the first time in two years that U.S. and British fighters attacked areas outside of Baghdad.

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein convened an emergency meeting of top military and political personnel Saturday to discuss countermeasures, including an Iraqi attack on U.S. forces, and attacks on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, home to American military bases, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported Saturday.