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Iraq Claims It Has Recaptured Radar Platform

September 04, 1986|Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Iraq claimed it recaptured a strategic radar platform in the Persian Gulf with a pre-dawn commando assault Wednesday, 24 hours after Iranian frogmen and marines seized it.

The Iraqis use Al Amik platform, a converted oil-loading facility, to guide their warplanes in attacks on tankers carrying Iranian oil.

Iran claimed its forces retained "complete control" of the area around Al Amik. It indicated that the platform itself had been stripped of radar and other military equipment, set afire and abandoned.

Conflicting claims cannot be reconciled because neither combatant admits foreign journalists to battle zones except on rare guided tours.

Baghdad radio said the Iranian marines on Al Amik were "completely wiped out" in the battle. The half-square-mile platform is 21 miles south of Iraq's Faw Peninsula, most of which has been occupied by Iranian forces since February.

Iran reported Wednesday that its warplanes bombed Al Bakr platform near Al Amik for the third time in 24 hours, and shelled it from coastal artillery and warships. Al Bakr also has been turned into a radar base to direct Iraqi planes in tanker attacks as part of an effort to cut off the oil exports with which Iran finances its war effort.

Iraq has increased its air strikes in recent weeks on Iran's oil industry, factories, transportation system and power stations.

The Iranian news agency claimed that Iranian fighter jets and anti-aircraft gunners shot down three Iraqi warplanes Wednesday.

Iran's assault on the oil platforms, combined with a thrust in the northernmost area of the 730-mile border battle zone, could be a prelude to the "final offensive" it says it will launch in an effort to end the war that began in September, 1980.

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