Iran fired a surface-to-surface missile at Baghdad on Wednesday in retaliation for Iraqi air raids on 18 cities that killed or wounded scores of civilians on the eighth anniversary of the Iranian revolution.
The missile hit a residential area of the Iraqi capital at 8:45 p.m., killing or wounding several people and destroying houses, an Iraqi military spokesman said in a report carried by the state-owned news agency INA. It was the 10th missile Iran has launched against Baghdad this year.
Missile attacks “will only increase our determination to strike at the enemy and destroy what has remained of its vital installations,” the Iraqi spokesman said.
18 Cities Attacked
In a dispatch monitored in Nicosia, the state-owned Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA, said 18 Iranian cities were bombed Wednesday, 11 of them where thousands of people were participating in marches to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power.
Scores of civilians were killed or wounded, the news agency said.
The Iranian agency said thousands of people were in the streets of Tehran at the time of the attack during official demonstrations. But the agency said that fierce anti-aircraft fire drove the Iraqi planes away from the area of Azadi Square, the rally point of marchers in the Iranian capital.
Tehran radio said the crowds broke out in chants as the Iraqi planes flew off. “War until victory,” “Death to America,” and “Death to Russia,” they chanted.
Holy City Bombed
The Iraqi jets also bombed the holy city of Qom and the cities of Nahavand, Borujerd, Kuhdasht, Urumieh, Tabriz, Esfahan, Shushtar, Mianeh, Maraagheh and Bakhtarah, the Iranian agency said. The Iraqi news agency said the cities of Qazvin and Qorveh were also hit by Iraqi jets.
Iraq has taken advantage of its superior air power to carry out repeated raids on Iranian cities since Jan. 9, when Iran launched an offensive east of Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city.
About 3,000 people are believed to have been killed in the Iraqi air raids and missile and artillery attacks on Iranian cities in the last month. Iran has retaliated by attacking Iraqi cities; no Iraqi casualty figures have been released.
Commando Raid Reported
Iran claimed that commando units of its elite Revolutionary Guards attacked Iraqi forces in the northern Kurdish areas, killing or wounding many soldiers.
Tehran radio said Iranian commandos assisted by Kurdish guerrillas opposed to the Iraqi regime attacked a garrison at Diana and a radar station near Erbil, in Iraq’s northern Kurdistan province, 43 miles from the border.
The Iranian reports claimed 1,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed our wounded in the attack on the Erbil complex, which they said was used to direct air raids on Iranian cities.
A denial issued by Baghdad said “no major battle has taken place in the last three days” in the area.
Punish the Aggressor
Official reports from Tehran said President Ali Khamenei told crowds celebrating the Islamic revolution in the capital: “Our aim in this war is punishment of the aggressor, and we shall carry on this goal until the end. Those who claim there is no victor in this war are wrong. A nation which has faith . . . is victorious.
“I hope that . . . before our next gathering to mark the revolution anniversary we shall celebrate the victory of the Iranian nation in the imposed war.”
Iranian television showed soldiers and volunteers parading in the streets. It said 26 battalions of volunteers were sent to the front Wednesday but did not say how many men that involved.