Mar 16, 2019 12:51 Asia/Tehran
  • Halabja chemical attack, 31 years on

The 31th anniversary of the chemical attack by the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, on the town of Halabja, marked on Saturday March 16.

Iran Press/Middle East: Halabja, located near Iran’s western border, was bombed on March 16, 1988 during the final days of Iraq’s war against Iran.

An estimated 5,000 people, mostly women and children, were killed when Iraqi jets dropped poison gas on the town. Many others died later of cancer and other illnesses, and the legacy of chemical contamination persists.

Every year, scores of Kurds from Halabja staged a demonstration in Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, and repeated previous demands for a swift trial of those responsible for the gruesome attack, Iran Press reported.

Thousands of Kurds were killed during Saddam’s rein in Iraq as the strongman never tolerated the large minority group.

The Halabja bombing, however, marked a sharp increase in the number of fatalities of the anti-Kurdish crackdown. The attack on Halabja was part of a wider campaign known as "Anfal" in which tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed by their own government.

A monument in memory of the victims of a chemical weapons attack on Halabja in March 1988

Besides attacking his own people, the former Iraqi dictator Saddam ordered a chemical attack on Iran.

In June 28 and 29, 1987, Iraqi bombers attacked 4 crowded parts of Sardasht with chemical bombs and engulfed its residents, women and children, young and old, with fatal chemical gases.

Chemical attack on Sardasht left 110 people killed and 5,000 injured.

According to the Iranian foreign minister, world’s inaction vis-a-vis the 1987 chemical bombing of Sardasht by the Iraqi army, gave the green light for similar horrid atrocities and tragedies to occur in the years that followed. 101

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