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US jet shot, pilots captured: Iraq

The aircraft's woman pilot and the co-pilot parachuted safely but were captured by Iraqi forces, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2003 15:14 IST

Iraq on Sunday claimed that its troops shot down a US jet over Baghdad even as at least 60 people were killed in the US missile blitz of an Islamic militant group in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The aircraft's woman pilot and the co-pilot parachuted safely after being hit by anti-aircraft artillery but were captured by Iraqi forces, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said quoting the al-Arabiya television channel.

Foreign Minister Naji Sabri told reporters on Sunday in Damascus that Iraqi troops shot down a plane at Abu Gharieb.

Meanwhile, at least 60 people were killed in a US-led missile attack on the northern Kurdish city of Khaneqin, east of Sulaimaniya, IRNA said quoting local sources in this western Iranian border city of Marivan.

US forces fired more than 100 Tomahawk missiles on Saturday targeting the stronghold of Ansar al-Islam, a militant group allegedly linked to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network.

Washington accuses the group of having carried out or planning to carry out terror attacks against United States as well as trying to build biological and chemical weapons with the help of Al-Qaeda.

Missiles reportedly also hit the base of a mainstream Islamic party, Komala Islami Kurdistan at Khormal.

But Pentagon has denied any US aircraft had been shot down over Baghdad. Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan said he had no "information that this is accurate... All our aircraft are accounted for."

First Published: Mar 23, 2003 12:03 IST