Iraq Shoots Down Helicopter, Warplane -- Minister

Iraq shot down one coalition fighter and a helicopter, while US and British troops destroyed huge quantities of foodstuff stored in Basra on Saturday, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Said Al-Sahaf told a press conference Sunday.

An "ordinary Iraqi" shot down a US Apache helicopter and killedits two pilots near Basra, said the minister. A second warplane was downed in central Iraq.

Over 1.6 million people in Basra have received food and other supplies according to government ration, but US and British troopsset ablaze and destroyed larger supply storage with 75,000 tons offood and other humanitarian supplies in Basra, Al-Sahaf said. He accused US and British troops of trying to starve the people of Basra.

US and British forces have bombed at least three food markets in Basra, causing civilian casualties, Al-Sahaf said.

Al-Sahaf described US and British troops as "racists," "war criminals," and "coward mercenaries."

The minister added that Iraqi troops attacked US and British troops near Basra earlier in the day and destroyed four tanks.

He denied US and British media reports that leading Iraqi officials have been killed during the war since it started 11 days ago.

People's Daily Online ---