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The BBC's Barbara Plett
"Once again Iraqis mourn the dead"
 real 28k

Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
Baghdad blames Iran for attack
damage
An Iraqi man inspects the damage to his house
A missile attack on a residential district in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has killed a three-year-old girl and wounded four other people.

Three houses in the al-Karkh district were said to have been demolished by eight missiles

A spokesman for the Iraqi Defence Ministry blamed "agents of Iran" for the attack in the early hours of Saturday.

Meanwhile, an Iranian-backed opposition group said it was behind the attack, which a spokesman said had targeted one of President Saddam Hussein's palaces.

Martyr

The Defence Ministry spokesman said: "Agents of the Iranian regime have committed another crime against the people of Iraq."



He named the dead girl as Zahra Mohammad Hamid, declaring her a "martyr".

A member of the Tehran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, said his group had fired nine rockets at the presidential palace.

"Eyewitnesses told us that some members of the regime were killed," he said.

The Qatar-based satellite television station, Al Jazeera, showed the interior of one of the destroyed homes and an ambulance at the scene.

A resident was shown saying that the Iranian Government was not above perpetrating such acts.

Dissident groups

The attack is the second bombardment of Baghdad this month and the third this year.

The Iraqi Government also blamed Iranian agents for attacks in March and on 1 May.

On 1 May, rockets exploded in the Baladiyat district of Baghdad, wounding eight people.

At about the same time a mortar attack on police headquarters in Tehran, Iran, wounded six people. The Iraqi-based rebel group, Mujahedeen Khalq, claimed responsibility.

On 22 March, a mortar attack on Baladiyat killed four people and injured 38.

Iraq and Iran fought an eight-year war that ended with a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1988.

The two Muslim neighbours never signed a peace treaty and their relations since the end of the war have remained tense.

Each harbours dissident groups fighting the other's government.

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See also:

02 May 00 | Middle East
Baghdad hit by rockets
22 Mar 00 | Middle East
Four killed in Baghdad mortar attack
13 Mar 00 | Middle East
Mortar attack on Tehran
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Iran warns Baghdad over rebels
05 Feb 00 | Middle East
Khatami survives mortar attack
27 Oct 99 | Middle East
Iraq arrests 'spies' for murder
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