An Iraqi military aircraft has penetrated the "no-fly" zone in southern Iraq and shot down an unmanned U-S plane that was looking for Iraqi weapons sites.
Pentagon officials said the computer-guided plane was destroyed. Iraqi military aircraft are barred from "no-fly" zones in both southern and northern Iraq, which have been patrolled since the end of the Gulf War by U-S and British forces.
The U-S and British flights result in almost daily clashes with Iraqi air defenses on the ground, but air-to-air encounters are rare. Monday's shoot-down is thought to be the first by Iraqi military aircraft in either "no-fly" zone.
United Nations monitors Monday started privately interviewing Iraqi scientists who could provide details about Baghdad's weapons programs.
Mohamed ElBaradei -- the chief nuclear weapons monitor -- said Monday he is also working on practical arrangements to find out which scientists want to be interviewed outside Iraq.
Mr. ElBaradei said he wants Iraqi scientists with what he called "critical information" to be able to seek asylum or -- if they return to Iraq -- to be able to live safely.
U-N inspectors visited more suspect sites in Iraq (today/Monday), including a military industrial facility near Baghdad.
Meanwhile, Iraqi officials confirmed Monday Baghdad would soon be receiving Arab and European volunteers who will act as human shields in the event of a military strike against Iraq. Iraqi officials say they will get housing and food and will be sent to strategic locations to discourage attackers.