WASHINGTON (AP) -- A U.S. Air Force F-15E warplane attacked an anti-aircraft artillery site in southern Iraq on Friday in response to what U.S. officials called recent Iraqi attempts to shoot down U.S. and British pilots.
The U.S. strike was the first in southern Iraq since American and British planes attacked several air defense sites around Baghdad on Feb. 16.
Friday's attack was near the city of As Samawah on the Euphrates River, about 130 miles south of Baghdad, officials said.
U.S. and British planes regularly patrol the skies over southern and northern Iraq to enforce "no fly" zones meant to prevent Iraqi forces from attacking rebel Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south.
Friday's strike was announced by U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., which is responsible for U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf area. The announcement said precision-guided weapons were used against the anti-aircraft artillery site but did not specify the weapon or give any indication of damage inflicted.
The U.S. aircraft involved in the strike returned safely from the mission, Central Command said.
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