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|Monday, August 28, 2000, updated at 10:38(GMT+8)|
Iraqi Paper Condemns US, Britain on No-Fly ZonesIraq's official daily has chided the US and Britain for imposing no-fly zones on Iraq, saying the two countries have been exploiting the restricted areas "for pure aggressive and espionage purposes."
The Ath-Thawra newspaper said the US and Britain capitalized on the situation following the 1991 Gulf War and set up the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq "in an overt interference in Iraq's internal affairs."
The US and its Western allies clamped a no-fly zone in the north on April 7, 1991 and the other one in the south on August 27,1992, with a claimed aim of protecting a Kuridsh enclave and Shi'ite Muslims from possible attacks of Iraqi government troops.
US and British planes based in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have since enforced the no-fly zones, not recognized by Iraq.
The US and Britain has since used the no-fly zones as a pretext to proceed with their aggressive policy against Iraq, the paper said.
The unilateral decision by the US and Britain to establish the air exclusion zones has got no authorization from the United Nations Security Council, the paper stressed.
The paper held the US-British alliance "fully responsible" for any consequences of their "illegitimate hostile acts," as Iraq has "full right of self defense" according to the International Law.
Iraq has been challenging the US and British warplanes overflying the two zones since the US-British air strikes in December 1998.
Yassin Jasim, major general of the Iraqi Air Defense Command, claimed that the Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery had shot down more than 10 US and British planes. "We have evidence to prove that," he said.
The claim could not be confirmed by the US and Britain.
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