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Iraq Dropped Chemical Bombs, Iran Charges

May 10, 1987|Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Iran charged Saturday that Iraq had dropped outlawed chemical bombs on civilian targets in a province that recently served as a springboard for an Iranian offensive.

An Iranian military communique said an Iraqi jet dropped chemical bombs Friday on the Bolhassan region of Baneh province, wounding an unspecified number of Iranian civilians.

The communique was carried by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Nicosia. It did not give other details.

The communique also said Iranian air defenses shot down a Soviet-built Iraqi MIG-21 jet and a helicopter Saturday. It said the jet was hit over Iran's oil-rich southern Khuzestan province and crashed in the Persian Gulf.

The helicopter, the Iranian report said, was shot down as a squadron of Iraqi helicopters tried to raid Sardasht. It said Iraqi helicopters were seen hovering low over the gulf, apparently searching for the pilot.

There was no immediate comment from Baghdad.

Iran is not the only party that has repeatedly charged Iraq with using chemical weapons. Iraq also has been condemned by the U.N. Security Council for using internationally banned chemical gases in its 6 1/2-year-old war with Iraq. Baghdad has denied the charge.

The Iranian cities of Baneh, Sardasht and Marivan were the main points Iranian forces used to mount an offensive last month into northern Iraq.

Iran accused Iraq of using poison gas in Kurdestan province during the weeklong offensive. At the time, Tehran also claimed its troops seized up to 115 square miles of Iraqi territory in the offensive.

Iraq has scoffed at what it termed Iran's "imaginary victories."

War reports by both sides, especially the claims of territorial gains, are difficult to verify because Iraq and Iran rarely allow neutral observers or journalists to visit the war zone.

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