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A U.N. investigation has concluded that two planes belonging to a Cuban exile group were over international waters when they were shot down by Cuban MiGs in February, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

While finding that the Feb. 24 attack was unjustified, the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization also criticized the United States for not doing more to stop members of the exile group Brothers to the Rescue from violating Cuba's airspace, the newspaper said.The Miami-based exile group was known to have flown several times over Havana, dropping anti-government leaflets.

"They hit us a little bit on the fact that the U.S. should have done a little bit more a little bit earlier to keep them out of Cuban airspace," the Herald quoted an unidentified U.S. official as saying.

Four members of the exile group were killed when the planes were shot down. While the Cuban government has maintained the planes were in Cuban airspace when the incident occurred, the U.S. government has argued that the planes were in international airspace.

The Herald, citing Clinton administration and congressional sources, said the Montreal-based aviation organization will deliver its findings to Cuban and U.S. diplomats later this week.

The U.N. group's findings have prompted the Clinton administration to seek action from the U.N. Security Council, the newspaper said. That includes "condemnation, reparations and a threat of future Security Council action" if a similar incident ever happens again, the newspaper quoted an administration source as saying.

The Clinton administration provided U.N. investigators with detailed maps of the routes flown by the planes and tapes of transmissions between Cuban MiG pilots and their ground control, the newspaper reported.

Cuban officials provided a videotape aimed at showing that the planes were flying within the internationally recognized 12-mile offshore limit of their territory. The tape showed items Cuba said belonged to the exile fliers and which it said were recovered within 9.3 miles of the Cuban coast the day after the incident.

The U.N. agency's criticism of U.S. policing of Brothers to the Rescue had been expected. Brothers to the Rescue, which began with a mission to patrol the Florida Straits and help save Cubans fleeing their homeland, became more political after President Clinton began a policy of returning Cuban refugees.

Last July and twice in January, Brothers founder Jose Basulto and his colleagues flew over Havana dropping leaflets that urged Cubans to rebel against Cuban President Fidel Castro. Basulto has since had his pilot's license revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration.