Death Toll from Iran’s Missile Attack on Iraq Rises to Six
The death toll from the wave of Iranian missile strikes on Iraqi territory has risen to six, with more than 36 others wounded, the official INA news agency said Friday, quoted by AFP.
"Six Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 36 others were wounded in the Iranian bombing of several towns and villages in Iraq," the agency said.
But the People's Mujahedeen, Tehran's main armed opposition, said Friday that "in addition to one Mujahedeen member killed, so far nine innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed and 25 others were wounded and hospitalized."
Iraqi officials initially put the death toll from Wednesday's attack at two, while the Mujahedeen reported one combatant dead in the strikes that Iran said targeted six of the group's bases, according to the agency.
"Two people were killed and 17 others injured in Wasset, 170 kilometers (106 miles) south of Baghdad, where eight houses were totally destroyed in the Iranian attack," INA said.
"Two Iraqi martyrs died and several others were hurt" in the southern port city of Basra, the agency said, adding that another two were killed and 19 wounded in Jalula, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
Iran has acknowledged its armed forces attacked Iraqi bases of the rebel Mujahedeen Khalq on Wednesday morning. The acknowledgment came in a letter delivered to the UN Security Council in New York late Wednesday.
Tehran dubbed the strikes as "limited and defensive" military attacks against Mujahedeen bases.
Iraq threatened retaliation Wednesday, saying it reserved the right to hit back with the appropriate means and at the appropriate time.
The attacks were followed Thursday by Iraqi reports of unmanned Iranian reconnaissance plane being shot down on the Iraqi side of the border,.
Iranian state television reported the attack Thursday, but gave no word of casualties.
Iraq has warned Iran that its missile attack on eastern Iraq risked a revival of the 1980-88 war when the two countries bombarded each other with rockets, reported The Associated Press.
In recent months the Mujahideen have stepped up cross-border raids and attacks deep inside Iran, including the capital Tehran.
Mujahideen bases in Iraq have come under attack from Iran several times in the past. In June 1999, Iraq said Iran had fired three long-range missiles at the Mujahideen's Ashraf Camp and the Mujahideen reported some Iraqi civilian casualties in a nearby village.
Tehran regularly criticizes the Iraqi government for failing to prevent Mujahideen activity. Iraq in turn accuses Iran of providing refuge for Iraqi Shiite Muslim dissidents who mount hit-and-run attacks in southern Iraq.
Iraq and Iran fought a ruinous war from 1980-88 and are still at loggerheads over several issues, such as repatriating prisoners of war and the 100 or more planes sent by Baghdad to Iran to escape bombing during the 1991 Gulf War.
A statement issued by the Mujahideen's leader, Massoud Rajavi, urged the UN Security Council to condemn the attack and "take a stance immediately against the mullahs' outlaw action in breach of international law." – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)