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Coalition aircraft strike in northern Iraq

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Coalition aircraft patrolling Iraq's northern "no-fly" zone struck Iraqi targets Tuesday after being fired upon, U.S. military officials said.

Coalition forces that are in the region as part of Operation Northern Watch hit after being threatened by anti-aircraft artillery from sites northeast of Mosul, according to a statement from the U.S. European Command.

The coalition aircraft responded by dropping precision-guided munitions on elements of the Iraqi integrated air defense system.

All coalition aircraft departed the area safely, the statement said.

U.S. and British aircraft have enforced no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 to protect Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south from possible attacks by the Iraqi government.

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