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US, British Aircraft Strike New Target in Iraq


U.S.-led coalition aircraft have struck another target in southern Iraq, this time a mobile radar for a surface-to-air missile launcher.

Air Force Brigadier General John Rosa of the Pentagon's Joint Staff says allied planes targeted the mobile radar Sunday, after it was moved inside the no-fly zone in southern Iraq.

"The radar was struck because it represented an imminent threat to our aircrews and coalition aircraft flying in the no-fly zone," he said.

It was the second strike in as many days. On Saturday, coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons to strike an air defense command center used to direct attacks on U.S. and British air patrols.

Nevertheless, General Rosa tells reporters there has been no sudden upsurge in coalition activities in southern Iraq. "We have not upped the tempo," he said. "It appears that there has been a spike, but as we measure them over the last 18 months they are not unusually high. After 9/11 the firings in the no-fly zone subsided slightly, but they are back up to their normal levels."

U.S. and British warplanes have been enforcing no-fly zones in both northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Gulf War, more than 10 years ago.

The patrols are intended to protect minority groups in the zones from hostile action by authorities in Baghdad and to guard against possible Iraqi strikes against neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials say they are considering options for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

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