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(Pentagon-AP) -- Today the Pentagon declared that U-S warplanes can fly anywhere they want with impunity. Until now, the Pentagon had said it had air supremacy everywhere except in the Baghdad area and over Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein.
Major General Stanley McChrystal says Iraq is "incapable" of interfering with coalition air operations.
But McChrystal made no mention of an Air Force A-10 warplane that was shot down near Baghdad today. It is believed to be the first allied plane to be downed by an Iraqi surface-to-air missile since the war began.
Iraq began the war with formidable air defenses in the Baghdad and Tikrit areas, which had not been damaged by years of American and British airstrikes in "no-fly" zones over northern and southern Iraq. But its offensive air forces are weak, and not a single Iraqi aircraft has taken off to challenge allied planes.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)