Published April 09, 2003
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran reacted angrily Tuesday after a stray rocket struck its territory near the Iraqi border, killing an Iranian teenager.
It was the third time Iranian territory has been hit by a rocket since U.S.-led troops went to war in Iraq.
The rocket had "apparently been fired by U.S.-led coalition planes," said Mohammad Kianoush-Rad, who represents Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province, in the Iranian parliament.
He said it landed outside Abadan, a port city about 30 miles east of the Iraqi city of Basra.
A 13-year-old boy was killed by the explosion, which left a 5-foot-deep crater in the road, state-run Tehran television said.
Mohammad Sohofi, a top government official, issued a sharp condemnation and said authorities were treating the case very seriously.
"The aggressor forces are responsible for violating Iran's air space and inflicting human and property losses," Sohofi was quoted as saying in the television report.
Pentagon spokesmen said they had no immediate information about Iran's claim.
The Iranian government reacted strongly when stray missiles fired by both Iraq and coalition forces landed in Iranian territory on March 21 and 22, summoning the Iraqi charge d'affaires and the British and Swiss ambassadors to protest.
The first rocket fired by U.S.-led coalition planes struck an Oil Ministry building in Abadan on March 21, injuring two people. Another missile, which Iran said was fired by Iraq, landed a day later in Sardasht, western Iran. No one was hurt.
The State Department assured Iran after the March 21 rocket incident that Washington was investigating.
Iran fought an eight-year war against Iraq in the 1980s and strongly opposes Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But it also opposes the U.S.-led war, fearing it could give Washington a free hand in post-Saddam Iraq and leave Iran encircled by pro-American countries.