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Iranian Missile Hits Schoolyard in Iraq; 32 Die

October 13, 1987|Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — An Iranian missile slammed into the edge of a crowded schoolyard in the Iraqi capital today. State radio said 29 children perished and 196 of their schoolmates were wounded.

The state radio said the surface-to-surface missile also killed two women and a man. In all, it said 218 people were wounded and admitted to hospitals.

The 7:55 a.m. blast shook the foundations of the Baghdad elementary school building and within seconds it collapsed, sending a huge cloud of dust into the air, witnesses said. It was not clear how many people were in the building at the time.

The Baghdad Radio announcement said the school and 16 other buildings in the area were demolished.

The explosion started a fire and sent shrapnel, glass shards and concrete chunks flying into the playground, witnesses said.

Retaliatory Strike

Iran has fired missiles at Baghdad several times since the nations went to war in 1980.

Iran's official news agency said today that an infantry unit of the Revolutionary Guards Corps fired the missile into Baghdad in retaliation for an Iraqi air raid Monday that damaged a school in the western Iranian province of Lorestan.

The agency quoted a statement by the Revolutionary Guards as saying the missile "was aimed at Iraq's Defense Ministry compound."

Baghdad Radio quoted an unidentified military spokesman as saying the Iranians have "declared it a war of cities, and so it shall be. It is our right and duty to respond to this ugly crime."

In other developments, Western ship owners said they have been told by their governments that Iran's air force may use new fighter-bombers to attack merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf.

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