MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Two rebel planes attacked Managua's airport and a communications center Thursday in air raids described by Defense Minister Humberto Ortega as proof of U.S. 'aggressive policies' toward Nicaragua.
In condemning the raid, Ortega said the 'bombardment by Somocista counter-revolutionaries on two points in the capital is proof of the aggressive policies of the Reagan administration against our revolution.
'The use of a plane from Costa Rica shows the disrespect the CIA has for that country, which surely has been carrying out operations behind the backs of that country's authorities,' Ortega charged.
'The attack contradicts peace efforts and reveals the hypocrisy of the United States that raises its voice about human decency in the case of the Korean airliner that violated Soviet air space, and proves that they are the ones who use the camouflage of civilian airplanes to carry out military activities against the sovereignty and laws of all countries of the world,' Ortega said.
The foreign ministry in Managua announced it would send an 'energetic and formal' protest to the United States government.
It also announced it would send a protest to Costa Rica, where rebels of Eden Pastora's Revolutionary Democratic Alliance (ARDE), who claimed responsibility for the raid, are based.
The ARDE said in San Jose, Costa Rica that it would stage other aerial attacks against the leftist Sandinista regime.
In the dawn attack, one plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and crashed in flames into the main terminal, killing the two men aboard, who were both Nicaraguans, authorities said.
Three air force personnel at the airport were injured in the attack, officials said.
The second plane, of an unknown type, attacked the Santa Marta telecommunications center, and escaped without causing major damage, officials said. Earlier reports had said the plane also attacked the foreign minister's house in southern Managua.
Nicaraguan authorities said the planes took off from Tobias Bolanos airport in San Jose, Costa Rica, but the ARDE statement said they took off from southern Nicaragua.
Transport Minister Carlos Sarruck said the control tower and two air force hangars sustained 'considerable' damage, but that the airport was reopened and the control tower functioning again by noon.
U.S. Ambassador Anthony Quainton was one of the first on hand at the airport when it reopened to greet a congressional delegation headed by presidential hopeful Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo.
The twin-engined Cessna came in low over Cesar Augusto Sandino International Airport at dawn, firing rockets at the control tower and hangars, officials said.
From recovered documents, the pilot was identified as Agustin Roman, a former pilot for the national airline Aeronica who defected a few months ago, and the co-pilot as Sebastian Muller.
ARDE, led by former Sandinista guerrilla commander Eden Pastora, admitted the plane was shot down and gave the same names for the dead.
ARDE said the second plane attacked the Santa Maria telecommunications center but missed its target and caused little or no damage, authorities said.
Pastora is a former Sandinista hero known as Commander Zero who defected in disagreement with the government's Marxist policies. He formed the rebel group last April and leads an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 fighters.
Another larger rebel group, the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Democratic Force, is based in northern Honduras.