BAGHDAD, Iraq — An Iranian ground-to-ground missile hit the heart of the Iraqi capital Friday, killing 21 civilians and injuring 81, and Iraq struck back with an air raid in western Iran that killed 12 people, reports from both sides said.
Iran said it fired the missile at secret police headquarters in Baghdad in retaliation for a recent chemical weapons attack against Iranian troops and air strikes on civilian targets during the last four months in the six-year-old Iran-Iraq war.
These and other claims by the combatants cannot be independently confirmed.
In the latest flare-up of fighting, the two sides have reported at least 352 civilians killed since May, when Iraq resumed attacks on what it called "industrial" targets to cripple the Iranian economy and pressure Tehran into accepting a cease-fire.
Baghdad has repeatedly offered to negotiate an end to the war, which began Sept. 22, 1980, over territorial disputes, but the leader of Iran's revolutionary Islamic regime, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has insisted his nation will keep fighting until Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is ousted.