U.S. Warplanes Bomb Basra Airport Again, Iraq Says

September 30, 2002 - 0:0
BAGHDAD -- U.S. aircraft attacked Sunday the international airport at Basra in southern Iraq for the second time in a week, Iraq announced.

"The evil American crows have struck and destroyed the civilian radar system at the airport," a Transport Ministry spokesman told the official Satellite Television Channel.

The raid on Basra took place at 5:40 A.M. (0140 GMT) and "damaged the main service building, including the departure hall," he added as quoted by AFP.

Iraq said the airport's civilian radar system had already been destroyed in a U.S. raid on Wednesday night. Basra Airport had also been bombed in August 2001 by U.S. and British forces.

Pentagon officials insisted the target on Wednesday was a mobile air defense radar that had been targeting U.S. and British aircraft over the past week.

Britain's Defense Ministry said the Royal Air Force had taken part in the raid.

A military spokesman said an Iraqi was wounded Thursday when civilian and service installations were bombed in Zi-Qar Province about 375 kilometers (225 miles) south of Baghdad.

Iraqi anti-aircraft fire forced the aircraft back to Kuwaiti airspace, he added.

The U.S. and British planes also overflew 15 other locations, the spokesman said.

Baghdad reported on August 27 that the radar system at Mosul Airport in northern Iraq was destroyed by U.S.-British planes.

Almost daily skirmishes are reported in "no-fly" zones enforced by U.S. and British warplanes over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Iraq does not recognize the zones which are not sanctioned by a UN resolution.

The latest raids come as Washington, backed by Britain, is pressing the United Nations to give the go-ahead for military action against Baghdad for its alleged continued development of weapons of mass destruction.