Tension renewed between Iran amd Iraq

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NICOSIA [MENL] -- Tension has escalated after Baghdad accused Iran of launching a barrage of Scud missiles toward military positions in Iraq.

Iraqi sources said Iran fired 66 Scud missiles on Wednesday. Several Iraqis and a member of the Iranian opposition Mujahadeen Khalq were reported killed.

Iran did not acknowledge the attack. But Teheran has accused Baghdad of supporting Mujahadeen attacks against the Islamic regime.

Iraqi and Mujahadeen sources said Iranian Scud missiles were fired toward opposition camps and nearby Iraqi towns east of Baghdad. The Doha-based Al Jazeera television broadcast the missile parts carried by Mujahadeen members.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 19, 2001


World: Iraq warns Iran that missile attack could revive war

By WAIEL FALEH, Associated Press BAGHDAD, Iraq (April 19, 2001 10:21 a.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - Iraq has warned Iran that its missile attack on eastern Iraq risked a revival of the 1980-88 war, a conflict that saw both countries pounded by repeated rocket assaults.

Iran has acknowledged its armed forces attacked Iraq-hosted bases of the Iranian rebel group Mujahedeen Khalq on Wednesday morning. The acknowledgment came in a letter delivered to the U.N. Security Council in New York late Wednesday.

The attack killed three people and wounded 23 others, Iraqi official media and the Mujahedeen Khalq said Thursday. All but one of the casualties were Iraqis.

Iranian state television reported the attack Thursday, but gave no word of casualties.

The attack was a "limited and proportionate defensive measure" against cross-border attacks by the Mujahedeen, Iranian Ambassador Hadi Nejad-Hosseinian said in a letter to the president of the security council, British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock.

Iran expects the Iraqi government "to put an end to the use of its territory for cross-border attacks and terrorist operations," the letter said.

The Baghdad spokesman for the Mujahedeen Khalq, Farid Soleimani, says Iran fired 66 Scud missiles at seven of the group's camps, killing one guerrilla.

The Mujahedeen says it has carried out a number of attacks on Iranian military posts during the past few days. The Iranian government has confirmed at least one of the attacks, in which six rebels were killed.

The state-run Iraqi newspaper, Al-Thawra, reported the attack killed 2 women and wounded 23 other Iraqis. The heaviest casualties were sustained in Jalawla, 113 miles northeast of Baghdad, where the women were killed and 19 people wounded. More than 10 houses - most in Jalawla - a school, a technical institute and a mosque were damaged, the paper added.

An Iraqi government spokesman said in a statement issued late Wednesday that the Iranian authorities "should understand that such acts have led to the 8-year war."

The war between Iraq and Iran in 1980-88 claimed more than a million lives in battles along the border and missiles exploding in towns and cities.

Iran and Iraq host rebels opposed to each other's government. Iraq has previously accused Iran of firing missiles at its territory, sometimes exploding in Baghdad, to retaliate for attacks of the Mujahedeen. Iran has often urged Baghdad not to allow cross-border attacks by guerrillas.

http://www.nandotimes.com/global/story/0,1024,500474630-500728449- 504131740-0,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 19, 2001.


NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iraq struck back at Iran, downing an unmanned air vehicle patrolling over border positions.

Iraqi officials said an air defense unit blasted the UAV in a border area about 400 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. An Iraqi military spokesman quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency said the UAV was coming from Iran on Thursday afternoon in the region of Mendali.

Earlier, Iraq pledged to retaliate in wake of an Iranian missile attack on Wednesday. Iraqi officials said Iran fired 56 Scud missiles at Iraqi and Baghdad-based opposition positions in the area of Basra as well as northeast of Baghdad.

On Thursday, Iran acknowledged the missile attack. In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Teheran termed the attack as a proportionate response to repeated Iraqi-sponsored attacks on Teheran and other Iranian cities.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 19, 2001.

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