BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Iraqi government said Saturday that its forces launched a lightning attack on Iranian positions, apparently in the northern sector of the Persian Gulf War front, and captured two mountain peaks.
A war communique broadcast on television said units from the 1st Iraqi Army Corps, reinforced by commandos, launched the attack Friday night and fought a fierce battle as they scaled the mountains. Iraq did not specify the location, but the 1st Army Corps is deployed in the northern sector.
"Our troops captured all their targets and drove away the Iranians, killing more than 100 troops," the Baghdad government said. A number of Iranians were captured or wounded, and the Iraqis seized 65 weapons and six wireless sets, the statement added.
Identified by Numbers
The communique did not say whether the mountain peaks were in Iraqi or Iranian territory. It identified the mountains only by the numbers 1730 and 1332; judging by past communiques, this may have referred to their height.
If the Iraqi attack was in the northern sector, it would be the first push there by either side for almost 18 months.
There was no Iranian or independent confirmation of the reported Iraqi push. Western journalists are not normally allowed in the war zone.
The last flare-up of ground fighting, which began earlier this month, was in the southern sector, after Iran pushed through the marshlands of southern Iraq.
Earlier Saturday, Iraq accused Iran of continued artillery shelling of Iraqi border towns, including the heavily populated southern port of Basra.
Iraqi warplanes flew 18 sorties against Iranian positions in the war front east of the Tigris River on Saturday, inflicting casualties and damage, the Iraqis said.
In neighboring Kuwait, meanwhile, the government declared its largest island, Bubiyan, out of bounds for civilians as fears increased in the Persian Gulf emirate that the 4 1/2-year-old Iran-Iraq war might spread into its territory.
Kuwait's defense minister, Sheik Salim al Sabah al Sabah, said the island, 20 miles northeast of Kuwait City and near the Iran-Iraq border, is now a "purely military island," equipped with anti-aircraft batteries as part of Kuwait's defenses against the conflict, which occasionally has spilled over to its territory.