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`11 killed' in Iraq raid

IRAQ CLAIMED US aircraft killed and wounded dozens of civilians yesterday in an air raid on the southern city of Basra.

Baghdad said British and American aircraft killed several people, including women and children, when they hit houses on the outskirts of the city. "The criminals bombed a number of residential areas ... in Abu Flus, Basra airport and the northern Rumala (oil) field," the official news agency INA said. "The indiscriminate and savage bombings have led to the martyrdom of more civilians, and civil defence units rushed to the sites to search for bodies of martyrs and to rescue the wounded and take them to hospitals."

A CNN producer in Iraq said he had seen at least 10 houses destroyed or damaged, though he did not see any civilian casualties. He said that he could see no air defence sites in the area where the damage had been done.

The Pentagon said that US carrier-based aircraft attacked an Iraqi missile site and air defence installations north of Basra yesterday morning after Iraqi aircraft entered the southern no-fly zone, though it had no information on casualties. But it confirmed that some of the laser-guided bombs had missed their target, and said it was assessing bomb damage reports. Britain denied its aircraft were involved.

The claim and counter-claim came as the US said its forces had been involved in at least five incidents yesterday in the northern and southern no-fly zone.