At 7 o’clock in the morning, on Monday September 29, 1997, the Iranian regime attacked the NLA Fa’ezeh Camp, 170 km southeast of Baghdad with five Phantom and Tiger fighter-bombers and heavily bombed the Camp with 500 and 1000 lbs. bombs. The Camp was located south of the 33 degrees no fly zone.
The bombs dropped during the air strike were high explosive bombs used for inflicting heavy casualties.
Simultaneously, the NLA Anzali Camp in the outskirts of Jalula (130 km northeast of Baghdad) also came under attack by four fighter planes. The warplanes had breached the border into the northern no fly zone and attacked the camp.
The bomb explosions left several craters 2 m deep and 4 m wide in the Camps and in the surrounding areas and heavily damaged the premises. A number of the bombs were also dropped outside the camps in the residential areas and injured two Iraqi citizens in Jalula.
The bombs dropped on Jalula damaged public premises
The air strike on the two NLA camps was commanded by the Air Force commander. The decision for the air strike had been made long before and the military maneuvers Ra’ad 9 two weeks earlier were in preparation for the attack.
Habib Bagha’ee, the then commander of the Air Force was personally commanding the two air strikes on the NLA Camps in the Iraqi territory, from Vahdati Airbase in Dezful. He arrived at the Airbase on September 29, 1997 accompanied by Reza Pardis, the Air Force operation commander.
The Arab League, France, the United States and many more countries condemned this terrorist attack in which weapons of mass destruction were used.
Official Positions and Press Reports
Ressalat newspaper, October 5, 1997: An Iranian official in the UN said: “In a totally defensive act and according to the Article 51 of the UN Charter, Iran defended its borders and pushed the attackers back”.
On October 6, 1997 VOA news quoted that Kamal Kharazi, the Iranian Foreign Minister, in an interview with the Arabic Al-Hayat weekly which is printed in London, said that Iran’s attacks are carried out on the basis of self- defense.
DPA (German News Agency), September 29, 1997: Iran confirmed on Monday that its air force had bombed a camp belonging to the People’s Mojahedin opposition in the neighboring Iraq.
AFP, September 30, 1997: A military spokesperson in Tehran confirmed that an air strike was carried out on a People’s Mojahedin camp in Iraq.
On September 30, 1997 VOA said the Washington condemned Iran’s attack on the Iraqi territory.
AFP, October 1, 1997: The Arab League on Wednesday condemned Iran’s recent air strike on the Iranian opposition camps in Iraq.
Al-Arab Al-Yowm (Jordan), October 1, 1997: This not only violates Iraq’s sovereignty but it also violates the American military authority. The act clearly challenges the presence of the West in the Gulf region and causes new fears among the Gulf people.
Süd Deutscheseitung, October 2, 1997: The Iranian Air Force bombed for the third time in one day the positions of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, the opposition movement in the Iraqi territory. The craters 5 m wide and 2 m deep could be seen in Al-Kut. Many premises were destroyed during the attack. Two warplanes were flying at low altitude while we were visiting the camp.
On October 4, 1997 the BBC World service reported that the US has ordered the Carrier Nimitz and six other war ships to reach the Gulf as soon as possible.
A report by Steven McCormack said the air strikes were apparently carried out by the Iranian Air Force planes against the Iranian rebel camps in southern Iraq, which encouraged the US to strengthen its presence in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon regarded the attack as a violation of the no fly zone.
Pezhwak Radio (Sweden), October 4, 1997: The bombing left craters 2 m deep and 4 m wide in the camps and in the surrounding areas. There were no human losses in the National Liberation Army but the premises in the camps were damaged and two Iraqi citizens were injured.