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The World

February 19, 1988

Iranian gunboats are flying the flags of neutral Persian Gulf nations to enable them to surprise and attack merchant ships in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates, the Bahrain-based Gulf News reported. The gunboats are manned by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and cannot be distinguished from fishing boats that ply the waters off the busy southern gulf coast, the newspaper said, quoting shipping sources. The sources refused to name the ship that sighted the disguised gunboats for fear of Iranian retaliation, the Bahraini newspaper said. Meanwhile, a French warship found and destroyed a mine drifting in the northern Persian Gulf, French naval officials said.

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