US air and naval forces launched 27 cruise missiles at air defence sites in Iraq hours before US President Bill Clinton announced a major extension of the No Fly Zone to the outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The attack was a much anticipated response to Iraq's incursion into Kurdistan over the weekend, and immediately triggered an oil price rise to $22.85 barrel.



In response to the US raid, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein made a belligerent speech ordering his air force into action against the allies but no report of engagement had been received by late last night.

The US attacks involved the launching of more than a dozen Boeing AGM-86C Air Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM) from USAF Boeing B-52 bombers, which flew from a base in Guam.

Other Hughes Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) were fired from a number of US Navy ships in the Arabian Gulf.

Pentagon sources revealed that the US had to rely on cruise missiles because Arab states, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, refused to allow American and British bombers to strike Iraq from their bases.

President Clinton also announced that a plan for Iraq to sell oil for limited humanitarian food supplies had been suspended.



Source: Flight Daily News