Targets stretched from Jalula in the North to Basra in the South
Starting from 0300 hours till 1100 hours April 18, 2001, Iran launched 77 Scud missiles on the NLA Camps and different Iraqi cities ranging from Jalula to Basra.
The NLA Habib Camp north of Basra was hit with 27 missiles. A number of innocent Iraqi citizens were killed and wounded during this savage attack. Also, a PMOI/MeK member, Reza Zahmatkesh, 38, from the Iranian city of Mashad was killed.
Reza Zahmatkesh was killed in the attack
The NLA Homayoon and Muzarmi Camps in the outskirts of Al-Amareh were also hit by a Scud missile.
Seven missiles, five of which left craters 12 m in diameter and several meters deep, hit the NLA Fa’ezeh Camp in the outskirts of Kut. One of the missiles that hit the city of Kut killed two, injured 17, totally destroyed eight houses and heavily damaged Kut Institute of Technology. Also, the nearby Abdullah Al-Jumaili Mosque, power and telephone cables were damaged.
Crater left by the explosion of Scud missiles in NLA Fa’ezeh Camp and pieces of the missiles
13 missiles hit the NLA Ashraf Camp. The explosions left deep craters in the Camp and destroyed the camp’s communications system and a number of the roads.
The NLA Alavi Camp located outside Meqdadieh was also hit by 5 Scud missiles.
The town of Jalula was hit by 24 Scud missiles, two of which hit an area near the mosque and the rest hit the residential areas.
The missile attack in Jalula killed two innocent people and injured 17 more. The missiles had hit residential areas in Jalula which were far away from the NLA Camp.
Houses of Jalula residents destroyed in the missile attack
AFP: Baghdad, April 19, 2001 – The Iraqi official newspapers on Thursday strongly attacked Iran for Tehran’s missile attack on Iraq which killed a mother and her baby, a Mojahedin combatant and injured 19 others.
On April 19, 2001 CNN quoted a local woman about a house that was completely destroyed and her house was also damaged. She started running and asking for help from the people to get a mother and her little baby out of the rubble. She and her daughter were killed in the explosion and a number of other people were severely injured and were taken to hospital.
AFP, April 19, 2001: “Major General Ahmad Kazemi, a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) confirmed the missile attack on the Monafeqin (Mojahedin) bases in Iraq and said that the operation was just a warning.”
INA, official Iraqi news agency, April 19, 2001: “Ghader Ali Ahmad told the reporters: Several Scud missiles hit our town today. Some people were killed, some were injured and four houses were destroyed. In Jalula two people were killed and 19 others were injured. Heydar Reza Ibrahim, a Jalula resident said: We were asleep when a missile hit our house at 0630 hours (0230 hours GMT) and we were injured.”
Al-Iraq newspaper, April 20, 2001: “A number of angry residents in Jalula condemned the dirty and criminal act by the Iranian regime against the defenseless people where a woman and her little daughter were killed and 19 others were injured.
“A missile hit the house belonging to Muhammad Amin Salim, completely destroyed his house and injured one of his children. He said: ‘This act is a witness of the regime’s savagery and wickedness’.”
Athowra newspaper, April 20, 2001: “The Iraqi news agency reporter in Wasset Province reported that two were martyred, 17 were injured and eight residential houses were completely destroyed.”
Deutsche Welle Radio: The accuracy of the Iranian missiles in hitting the People’s Mojahedin (Monafeqin) Organization’s targets in Iraq is a clear sign of progress in the Iranian military industries.
AFP, April 20, 2001: “Baghdad, April 20 – The People’s Mojahedin, Tehran’s main armed opposition, said on Friday that in addition to a Mojahedin member who was killed in the attack, nine innocent Iraqi people were also killed and 25 more were injured.”
Khatami Sanctioned WMD Attacks
Launching 77 missiles to NLA camps was approved by Supreme National Security Council chaired by the Iranian president
The Iranian so-called ‘reformist’ president, Mohammad Khatami, officially sanctioned the use of the banned weapons of mass destruction in the April
Mohsen Reza’ee, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and currently secretary of the State Exigency Council, revealed that the plan to attack the NLA camps and the Iraqi cities with 77 surface to surface missiles on April 18, 2001, was approved in a session of the Supreme National Security Council chaired by Khatami and was also signed by him.
Prior to these attacks and following the air strikes by Iranian fighter bombers on the NLA Fa’ezeh and Anzali camps in Kut and Jalula in September 1997, Ali Shamkhani, the Defense Minister in Khatami’s cabinet, had emphasized coordination between the regime’s authorities during such aggressive attacks, saying: “All the authorities are in unison when confronting the enemies. In this operation, the leader of the regime [Ali Khamenei] who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president and all the authorities have been united in making this military decision.”
The high-ranking officers of the Guards Corps and the Army had a meeting with Khamenei on April 17, 2001 to be briefed on the missile attacks against the NLA camps. A number of them had already been stationed in the missile bases in the border provinces of Kermanshah, Ilam and Khuzestan.
Tehran claimed responsibility for missile attacks
A few hours after the savage missile attacks, which left dozens of innocent Iraqi people dead and wounded, in a speech to the army in commemoration of the senseless, anti-patriotic Iran - Iraq war, Khatami verbally assailed the PMOI/MeK, becoming the first authority to endorse publicly this aggressive operation.
A week before this terrorist attack and even after that, Khatami’s associates in his faction strongly supported the use of the WMD missiles and said that it was his policies that set the stage, politically and internationally, for the missile attacks.
According to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency on April 20,
2001, Nezhad Husseinian, Iran’s representative to the UN, wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Security Council, “During the operation which started at 4:51 and lasted until 7:03 Wednesday morning, Ashraf Camp in northern Baghdad, Anzali Camp in Jalula, Fa’ezeh Camp in Kut, Habib Camp in Basra, Homayoon Camp in Al-Amareh and Alavi Camp in Mansoorieh were targeted”. In an attempt to justify the crime and evade the international repercussions of the attack, he claimed that “the operation was limited and appropriate to stop the attacks from beyond the borders against Iran which are carried out from the Iraqi territory” by the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MeK) and “it should not be taken as an act against Iraq’s territorial sovereignty”.
The Iranian regime made these claims despite the fact that most of the missiles had hit the urban areas and the media reports said that a large number of Iraqi citizens had been killed and wounded or their houses destroyed. Meanwhile, contrary to the claims made by Tehran’s representative, the missile attack continued beyond 7:03 as he had already acknowledged. Similarly, a number of other regime officials made brazen remarks, admitting the use of the WMD missiles against the opposition camps. Excerpts of a selection of their statements appear below.
The state-run TV network, May 27, 2001: “Ali Younessi, the Intelligence Minister announced that: ‘During the intelligence and operation acts, reconnaissance was carried out on the Monafeqin camps in Iraq and through coordination with the armed forces a number of surface to surface missiles were launched against these camps’.”
The state-run TV network, May 2, 2001: “In his speech about the Mojahedin before the Friday prayer in Tehran, Larijani, chairman of the state-run radio and television, said:
‘Another important work which was done by the powerful arms of Islam’s combatants was the lightning operation which also had a punishment aspect for the Monafeqin. By this act, the combatants of Islam showed the power of the regime both to the Monafeqin and to the neighbors’.”
Hayat No Newspaper, April 21, 2001: This decisive act by the Islamic Republic government reflects a determination that seeks to strengthen the regime’s power and national security.”
Iran threaten further WMD deployment
Mullah Ali Younessi, the Intelligence Minister in Khatami’s cabinet, threatened that the Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to continue with such attacks. He stressed that Iran enjoys the military power to launch tens of missiles to pre-determined targets in a few minutes.
The statements made by the Iranian authorities, their threats against the countries in the region, their non-stop efforts for stockpiling missiles with longer range and more destructive power, operating more advanced missile systems and employing banned weapons of mass destruction against defenseless citizens are all clear signs of violating the UN resolution 598. Despite the deceitful slogans of peaceful coexistence and reducing the tension, their conduct proves once more that this regime is the most important threat to the peace and tranquility in this part of the world and whenever it is necessary, it does not hesitate to use the weapons of mass destruction for its own interests against the neighboring states.
In a related development, the People’s Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MeK) disclosed on March 26, 2001, that the Iranian regime were planning to install new communications antenna in the missile center of the Guards Corps in Tehran in order to facilitate the communication with the missile units that could be stationed in the western and southern borders as well the southern coasts.
Threatening the countries in the region with missile attacks, Ali Larijani, chairman of the state-run radio and television and a close aide to the religious Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said in his speech in the Friday prayer in Tehran on April 27, 2001, “The result of last week’s missile attack on the Mojahedin was a ‘warning to the small countries in the region not to play with fire’.”
The alarming extent of the missile attacks prompted much alarm at the regional and international level.
According to a report by Abu Dhabi TV, 2001/4/20, “Russia expressed its deep concern following Iran’s missile attack on the opposition camps and Iraq’s reaction by shooting down an Iranian reconnaissance drone.
Also, commenting on the huge number of missiles launched by Iran in a matter of hours, Sean Boyne wrote in the Jane’s Defense Internet Site in April 2001, that “Iran showed its tactical range when it launched a barrage of its heavy arms on seven bases of the rebels in Iraq… During the
1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, Iran launched a mere of 14 Scud missiles. This means that the number of Scud missiles fired by Iran in one day is greater than the number of missiles it fired in three years of war from 1985 to 88.”
Aftab Yazd newspaper wrote about employing the weapons of mass destruction on 2001/4/21 and said: “Establishing the political expansion, triggers the missiles…It is the drastic fall in the governments’ negative attitude and the international community’s position towards this act by Iran which usually shows itself in the international scene to a point that Tehran would never have to pay negative or moral price for this act.
An Iranian reconnaissance drone crashed in Iraqi territory near Ashraf Camp
April 19, 2001
At 1645 hours Thursday April 19, 2001, a reconnaissance drone entered the Iraqi territory from the east and crashed about three km from Ashraf Camp. The following parts were obtained from the plane after the crash:
• Sony super 8 movie camera
• Photography camera for aerial photography with the following mark on it: “The IRGC Air Force, code 220, serial No. 4026” with the IRGC emblem.
• Radio transmitter
• Plastic fuel tank with 14 -15 liters capacity. The following words were written on it in Persian and English: “Quds
Aerial Industries – Fuel Tank Mohajer Aircraft”
AFP, April 20, 2001, Moscow – Tehran said that it had simultaneously attacked six People’s Mojahedin camps in Iraq. Iran announced that the attacks were limited and defensive, but Iraq regards them as the most extensive attacks since the end of the eight year long war. Iraq said that it had shot down an Iranian espionage drone in northeast of Baghdad.
Wreckage of an Iranian reconnaissance drone
Parts of the espionage drone wreckage
AFP, April 20, 2001: “…The People’s Mojahedin Organization said yesterday that an Iranian drone had crashed in Ashraf Camp near al-Khalis. In a statement released by the organization, it added that simultaneously, two Iranian warplanes breached the Iraqi airspace near Anzali Camp in the outskirts of Jalula but the organization’s anti-air defense forced them to escape without doing any aggressive act.
Deutsche Welle Radio: According to the western intelligence sources, Iran flies a large number of Sanjaghak class drones to obtain photograph and information from the Mojahedin (Monafeqin) camps. The recent attacks were carried out based on such information.