US and British aircraft patrol the northern no-fly zone. The US warplanes usually fly fighter and bombing missions while the British fly reconnaissance missions. The statement said all planes used in the operation, which are based at Incirlik air base, in southern Turkey, returned safely to their base.
Iraq considers patrols of the northern no-fly zone - and of another one in the south of Iraq - a violation of its sovereignty and frequently shoots at the patrols. The zones were set up after the 1991 Gulf War provoked by Iraq's invasion of neighbouring Kuwait.
The hostilities have been going on for years but are being watched more closely since Washington has vowed to oust Iraqi President Saddam's Hussein's regime.