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Iraq Says It Bombed Bases; Civilian Areas Hit, Iran Says

January 02, 1987|Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Iraq said its warplanes bombed Iranian military bases, an airfield and oil installations Thursday. Iran charged that the Iraqis hit civilian areas and dropped chemical bombs on its soldiers.

The official Iraqi News Agency, monitored in Nicosia, said Iraq's warplanes staged at least six major air raids, hitting Iran's Kharg Island oil terminal in the northern Persian Gulf, and troop concentrations and ammunition dumps in the central sector of the battlefront where the attacks caused "heavy losses in men and equipment."

The news agency, quoting a military statement issued in Baghdad, said the military targets were south of the Iranian town of Gilan-e Gharb.

Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, also monitored in Nicosia, said Iraqi warplanes hit suburban areas of the town, but it did not mention any casualties.

The Iraqi statement said that warplanes bombed Kharg Island, "destroying their targets and impeding repair work." The terminal has been bombed more than 200 times in the last 16 months.

Oil Field Reported Hit

The Iraqis said that Kaj-Saran oil field was also hit, with "columns of smoke billowing from the field," along with the Masjed Soleyman air base in southwest Iran where "destructive hits on the runway and facilities were scored."

All the Iraqi planes returned safely, the statement said.

Iran's news agency quoted an Iranian military statement as saying that an undisclosed number of Iranian soldiers were hit by toxic gases when chemical bombs were dropped on targets in the central sector of the battlefront, which is more than 700 miles long.

It said some of the bombs hit a field hospital.

Iran charged that the chemical bomb attack was the second time this week that the Iraqis had used toxic gases against Iranian forces.

There was no comment from Baghdad on the Iranian allegations.

Asks U.N. Investigation

The Iranian news agency reported that Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Said Rajaie Khorassani, urged U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to send an investigation team to Iran and take action to halt Iraq's "cowardly tactic" of using chemical weapons in the six-year-old Persian Gulf War.

Iran charged that Iraqi gunners fired chemical shells into Iranian positions in the southern sector last week after an Iranian assault across the Shatt al Arab waterway.

The U.N. Security Council denounced Iraqi use of chemical weapons on April 25, 1985, and March 21 of last year. But Iran has charged that the Iraqis have repeatedly used nerve and toxic gas weapons since.

Volunteers to Front

Iran also said that thousands more volunteers of the newly formed Mohammed Corps left for the front from 11 cities Wednesday. Tehran has vowed to launch a "final offensive" in the coming months that will defeat the Iraqis.

On the ground, the Iraqi agency said Iranian artillery pounded the southern town of Abu al Khasib.

Iran reported that its gunners destroyed 60 Iraqi gun emplacements in the northern and central sectors, killing or wounding "a large number" of men in artillery duels. The agency said heavy Iranian artillery fire broke up Iraqi thrusts in the southern sector Wednesday, but gave no details.

Also on Thursday, the Iranian news agency reported that Iran has called for the postponement of an Islamic summit conference scheduled for Jan. 26 in Kuwait because of Kuwait's support for Iraq in the war.

The news agency quoted acting Foreign Minister Ali Mohammed Besharati as suggesting that the Organization of the Islamic Conference postpone the meeting "for a few months. . ."

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