Government bond prices closed higher for the second day Friday, strengthened again by optimism over the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

The price of the Treasury's benchmark 30-year bond rose 1/4 point, or $2.50 per $1,000 in face amount. Its yield, which drops when prices rise, fell to 8.17 percent from 8.19 percent late Thursday.Prices seesawed during the day as the bond market followed the ups and downs of reports on the war.

Prices slipped at the start of New York trading as investors reacted to news of an Iraqi missile attack on Israel, said Kathy Camilli, chief economist at Maria Ramirez Capital Consultants Inc. in New York.

But prices changed direction around noon when the market learned several rumors about Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, she said. One said Hussein had been shot by a subordinate, while the second said his family had fled to the west African nation of Mauritania.

The reports, which were not confirmed, sent prices out of negative territory and above their close Thursday.