Wednesday, January 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

US, British jets hit Iraqi radars

Washington, January 7
US and British aircraft patrolling the “no-fly’’ zone over southern Iraq have targeted Iraqi military radars in the second such strike in two days, the US military said.

“In response to Iraqi hostile acts against coalition aircraft monitoring the southern no-fly zone, Operation Southern Watch Coalition aircraft used precision-guided weapons today to target two Iraqi military mobile radars,’’ the US Central Command said in a statement yesterday.

“Today’s strike came after Iraqi forces moved the radars into the southern no-fly zone,’’ said the command, which oversees US military operations in the Gulf.

“The radars were located near Al Amarah, approximately 265 km south-east of Baghdad. The strikes occurred at approximately 3:30 p.m. EST local time 2 am IST’’ the US military said.

The last coalition strike in the southern no-fly zone was on Saturday, against Iraqi military air defence communications facilities, the US Central Command said.

Monday’s strikes were the latest in a series of escalating skirmishes coinciding with a US military build-up in the Gulf for a possible invasion of oil-rich Iraq.

The Iraqi army yesterday said US and British planes attacked civilian targets in southern Iraq.

The USA and Britain declared no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, to protect Kurds in the north and Shi’ite Muslims in the south from Baghdad’s forces. Iraq does not recognize the zones. Reuters


No nukes found in Iraq, more time to N. Korea

THE head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog today said that there was no evidence so far of any nuclear weapons programme in Iraq.

Mr Mohamed El Baradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency told media in Baghdad that the inspectors have found no proof that Iraq lied about nuclear weapons in its declaration on weapons of mass destruction presented to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the IAEA insisted today that North Korea had “only a matter of weeks” to readmit inspectors expelled last week.

“If they do not come into compliance, we will have to go to the (UN) Security Council and the Security Council will take it from there,” Mr Baradei said.

Mr El Baradei’s statement comes at a time when the USA is seen to be inching towards a war on Iraq, moving men and military equipment and a floating hospital to the Gulf region.

Mr El Baradei said the agency’s laboratory tests of samples taken in Iraq so far have found nothing suspicious.

There currently is no “smoking gun,” Mr El Baradei said, but he noted that inspections were still in their early stages.

The Iraqi President Saddam Hussain slammed the inspectors yesterday in a televised speech on Iraq’s army day saying they are not interested in unearthing evidence but were more keen on spying on Iraq on behalf of the USA.

Yesterday, Mr El Baradei said “We are not certain of Iraq’s nuclear capability,” at the end of a top-level meeting of the IAEA.

“Meanwhile, Mr El Baradei said, “We have...made it very clear to North Korea that it is not an open-ended invitation. It’s only a matter of weeks.” Mr El Baradei was talking to CNN in a broadcast monitored in London.

North Korea said today economic sanctions over its nuclear programme would mean war and urged the USA to sit down and talk, just hours after Washington signalled that dialogue was still an option. PTI, Reuters

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