Iraq claims Iranians strike at two cities
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ An Iraqi war statement accused Iranian artillery and warplanes of striking at two cities Monday, and said one civilian was killed and 34 were wounded.
The Iraqi air force commander, Lt. Gen. Hamid Shaaban, told the state-run newspaper Al-Thawra that his pilots would continue their strikes against military and economic targets deep inside Iran until Iran ″is brought to its knees.″
His statement and the Iranian attacks heightened fears of a renewal of the ″war of the cities″ in which the warring neighbors bombed and rocketed urban centers for three months last year.
The daily war statement broadcast over Baghdad radio said Iranian artillery shelled the southern port of Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city with a population of one million, killing one woman and wounding 14 people, including five children.
It said two Iranian warplanes bombed the city of Al-Amarah, 93 miles north of Basra, and 20 people were wounded.
Shaaban told Al-Thawra that the Iraqi air force would ″always choose the targets, whether industrial or economical, that harm the Iranian regime and destroy it because it persists on aggression and sponsors dreams of territorial expansion.″
Iraq invaded Iran in September 1980 in a border dispute, but withdrew to the original frontier in June 1982 and has since been calling for a negotiated peace. Iran has rejected the overtures, demanding war compensations and the ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Iraq has said that over the past week its warplanes have intensified their attacks, aiming at oil installations, factories and military camps inside Iran and also along the 730-mile frontline.
Iran claimed some of the raids were aimed at civilian areas. Iran’s Parliament speaker, Hojatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani, said Sunday that his country would retaliate by firing missiles against Iraq’s ″crucial centers.″ His statement was distributed by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency and the dispatch was monitored in Cyprus.