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17 Reported Killed in Raids on Basra, Four Border Towns : Key Iraqi City Attacked by Missiles, Iran Says

December 08, 1986|From Reuters

TEHRAN — Iran fired three short-range missiles into the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Sunday and launched air raids against targets in five other areas, Tehran radio reported.

It said the attacks were reprisals for Iraqi air raids that have reportedly killed more than 125 Iranians the last two days.

The surface-to-surface missiles, fired by Iranian army ground forces, were the first reported against Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, with a population of 1 million, during the six-year-old Persian Gulf War.

Air raid targets extended from Amadiyah in northern Iraq, near the Turkish border, to Kut, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, the report said.

46 Reported Injured

In Baghdad, the High Command communique said that 17 civilians were killed and 46 others wounded in the shelling of Basra and four border towns. It said 10 people were killed and 27 injured in Basra, where eight houses and several other buildings, including a church, a hospital, a school and a cinema, were damaged.

It made no mention of missiles but said Basra was shelled by Iranian artillery, and two border towns also were attacked by two Iranian warplanes.

A Baghdad military spokesman also said that Iraqi planes attacked a "large naval target"--the usual term for an oil tanker or merchant ship--off the Iranian coast Sunday.

He said that the aircraft scored "an accurate and effective" hit and had safety returned to its base.

Iraq's last confirmed raid on shipping in the Gulf was on Nov. 25 when its warplanes damaged three oil tankers at Iran's Larak oil terminal.

Iran Puts Toll at 100

Iran said more than 100 people were killed in one of three Iraqi raids Saturday on its southwestern city of Ahvaz after a weeklong lull in air attacks was broken Friday.

A Tehran war information spokesman said that Iran would reply with attacks on military and economic targets across Iraq for 48 hours.

The reprisals began Saturday night with long-range shelling of Basra, IRNA, the national news agency, reported.

Basra residents reached by telephone from Baghdad said that the port city had been under heavy Iranian bombardment ever since. But they said that they had heard explosions bigger than those normally caused by artillery shells.

'Sounded Like Missiles'

"The explosions we heard this (Sunday) morning were somehow different than those caused by artillery. They sounded like those caused by missiles," one said.

The residents could not estimate any damage, and there was no official comment on the missile claim several hours after the Iranian news agency reported the attack.

Reports indicate that Iranian long-range missiles have frequently been fired into Baghdad in the last two years.

Iraqi officials said 53 people were killed in the last such attack, on Nov. 26.

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