NICOSIA, Cyprus — Iran said its troops turned a battle area "into a graveyard for Iraqi forces" Monday, killing or wounding 3,000 of the foe in a push that brought Iran closer to the southern Iraqi port city of Basra.
Iraq retorted that Iran did not advance "even a single inch" and said the Iranians were retreating. It claimed that Iran suffered 2,000 casualties in the overnight fighting and conceded only 30 casualties among Iraqi forces.
Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency said that Iranian forces seized new positions overnight west of the Jasim River, six miles from Basra. IRNA located the newly captured positions as west of Fish Lake along the Dual Canal and west of the Jasim.
IRNA said the Iranians late Sunday and early Monday turned the area "into a graveyard for the Iraqi forces and a dump for Iraqi munitions." Tehran radio said the Iranians routed three Iraqi brigades and a commando battalion.
It said more than 3,000 Iraqi troops were killed or wounded and at least 78 taken prisoner, while 20 tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed.