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Iranian Missile Hits Baghdad; 21 Die, 81 Hurt

September 13, 1986|From Times Wire Services

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.

The Iraqi news agency INA said Friday that the Iranian missile hit a "crowded residential area" of Baghdad, killing 21 civilians, injuring 81 others, demolishing or damaging more than 40 homes and shops and damaging 17 cars.

In Tehran, the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, said Iranian forces fired a missile at the secret police headquarters in Baghdad just after midnight.

Iraq responded with an air raid into western Iran, killing at least 12 civilians and wounding scores of others, IRNA said.

IRNA said eight people were killed and 21 injured when Iraqi planes bombed three points in the border town of Kerend, about 310 miles southwest of Tehran. Another four people died and scores were injured in a separate raid on a village outside Kerend, IRNA said.

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