WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an action U.S. officials consider a violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution, Iraq fired surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns at American and British warplanes patrolling a "no-fly" zone.
Coalition warplanes bombed an Iraqi air defense site in retaliation for Friday's firing, a Pentagon statement said.
It was the first coalition strike on Iraq since President Saddam Hussein's government accepted the Security Council resolution Wednesday that demanded he disarm and allow inspectors to search for chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Under the resolution, a material breach must be reported to the Security Council for new debate and could be used as possible justification for U.S.-led military action to remove Saddam's government.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government considers the firing a material breach, but could not say whether or when American officials would raise the issue with the United Nations.
State Department spokesman Frederick Jones said the United States had the option of reporting the Iraqi firing to the Security Council but had not decided whether to do so.
In New York, meanwhile, chief U.N weapons inspector Hans Blix prepared to set off for Baghdad with a warning to Saddam that the Security Council won't tolerate "cat and mouse" games.
Blix and other inspectors are scheduled to arrive in Iraq on Monday after a four-year absence, and he said actual inspections were expected to begin Nov. 27.
Saddam's government told Iraqis on Friday they must welcome the inspection team.
The Bush administration says it will go to war if Saddam does not comply with the new U.N. resolution to cooperate in declaring and dismantling Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Saddam accepted the U.N. resolution on Wednesday but insists Iraq has no chemical, biological and nuclear arms.
"Iraq's acceptance of the resolution is an attempt to save our people from any harm," the state-run Al-Iraq newspaper said Friday.
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