Iran News ...


Teenager killed in rocket blast in southwest Iran

A 13-year-old Iranian boy was killed Tuesday afternoon after a rocket, apparently fired by either British or US troops, hit a suburb in the southwestern city of Abadan near the Iraqi city of Basra, IRNA reported.

The rocket exploded at the Khosro Abad district five kilometers from Abadan along a road which links this city to the Arvandroud river at 14:55 (1025 GMT), killing Hossein Arizi, a junior high school third grader.

It gouged a crater one and half meters deep and 30 centimeters wide on the asphalt along the road. The victim's body was taken to the coroner's office.

An Iranian official at the Iraq Crisis Headquarters, Mohammad Sohofi, condemned the blast, saying "the issue is seriously being followed up by the eligible officials".

"The aggressor forces are responsible for violating the Islamic Republic's air space and inflicting human and property losses (to Iran)," he said.

Abadan lies 50 km east of Basra which is currently in the hands of British forces.

At least two projectiles have already landed on the Iranian territory since the US-led war against Iraq began and Tehran has blamed both the coalition and Baghdad for the attacks. On March 21, two people were injured after a coalition jet fired a rocket at an oil depot in Abadan.

Iran summoned the British ambassador and Swiss ambassador whose country looks after US interests in the Islamic Republic since Tehran and Washington hold no diplomatic relations.

Iraqi charge d'affaires was also summoned after a missile hit the border city of Sardasht in western Iran without causing any injuries.

US and British officials speculated the missiles had been fired by Iraq. Washington has said it took Iranian territorial integrity and sovereignty very seriously" and vowed to investigate where the missiles came from.

The British Embassy in Iran said that the apparently stray missile which hit an oil refinery depot in southwest Abadan was "most likely the result of Iraqi action".

"The UK Ministry of Defense have looked into this incident and made this conclusion on the basis of the information available and given the disposition of coalition and Iraqi forces in the region at the time," it said in a news release sent to IRNA.

Iran, which fought an imposed war between 1980 and 1988 with Iraq -- then a close American ally -- has reiterated that it will not back one side or another in the US-led war. The Islamic Republic, however, has strongly condemned the invasion.

... Payvand News - 4/9/03 ... --

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