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Iraq Accuses Iran of Scud Missile Attack

April 19, 2001|From Reuters

BAGHDAD — Iraq said Wednesday that Iran had fired 56 Scud missiles at camps inside Iraq belonging to the People's Moujahedeen Organization, an Iranian rebel group.

The Moujahedeen said one of its members had been killed along with several Iraqi civilians, and several others were wounded.

The Moujahedeen opposes Iran's clerical rulers and launches frequent attacks from Iraq, where it maintains bases equipped with tanks, heavy guns and helicopter gunships near the border.

An Iraqi government spokesman said: "Iraq holds Iran fully responsible for human and material losses which were caused by the aggression. Iraq reserves its legitimate right to respond with suitable means at the suitable time."

Fareed Suleimani, a spokesman for the Moujahedeen, put the number of missiles fired by Iran at 66, aimed at seven camps in Iraq. He said the attacks started at 3 a.m. and continued until at least 1 p.m.

A statement said three camps had been hit: Homayoun and Mouzarmi, near the city of Amarah, and Habib, 30 miles north of Basra.

But Suleimani said missiles aimed at Camp Faezeh near the city of Al Kut, Camp Ashraf near Khalis, Camp Alawi near Maqdadieh and Camp Anzali near Jalawla had missed their targets and landed in nearby cities and towns.

"So far, nine missiles have hit the city of Jalawla--two of them landed near the city's mosque and the rest landed on residential areas," he said.

Reporters of Western news agencies and television networks were taken to Jalawla, 70 miles northeast of Baghdad, the capital, and 38 miles from the border with Iran, to see the damage. The Iraqi News Agency INA reported that two people were killed and 19 others were wounded.

Tehran regularly criticizes the Iraqi government for failing to prevent Moujahedeen activity. Iraq in turn accuses Iran of providing refuge for Iraqi Shiite Muslim dissidents who mount hit-and-run attacks in southern Iraq.

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