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Iraqi, U.S. Militaries Exchange Fire

Aired February 22, 2001 - 4:28 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Pentagon sources tell CNN that two Iraqi radar sites which were bombed in last Friday's attack are already back in operation. The sources also say that more than half of the advance satellite-guided bombs failed to score direct hits, missing their targets by as much as 100 feet. In Iraq today, meantime, U.S. war planes and Iraqi anti-aircraft gunners exchanged fire.

CNN's Jane Arraf joins us on the telephone live from Baghdad with what Iraq has to say about this latest clash -- Jane.

JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joie, a military spokesman in Baghdad confirms that Iraq shot at planes and considers they're violating its air space in the north and the south today.

Now, a spokesman made no mention of a U.S. air strike, but Iraq generally doesn't immediately announce the damage; it believe's that information could be useful to its military enemies. The spokesman does say that Iraqi air defenses confronted U.S. and British planes today, as they have almost every day since Friday's bombing near Baghdad. It does appear to be the first time that the U.S. has fired back, and we're not sure why that is.

News from the Pentagon, as you mentioned, on Friday's strike is that more than half the missiles fired at radars missed their marks. Iraq's civil defense chief was quoted today as saying his teams diffused an unexploded guided missile that fell on farmland near Baghdad. And a senior official in Iraq's communication ministry tells CNN that the air strikes have done damage to the civilian telecommunications system. He denies, again, that there were Chinese workers employed in telecommunications. As the Pentagon has claimed, he says there are only Iraqi workers in that sector -- Joie.

CHEN: CNN's Jane Arraf, live on the telephone with us from Baghdad today.

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