Iraq claims counterattack has forced Iranian retreat

Iraq says its troops have forced Iranian forces to retreat in a counterattack in the 15-month-old Persian Gulf war. The official Iraqi News Agency quoted a military official as saying the Iraqis mounted the attack this weekend in the mountainous border area around Gilan-e-Gharb and Sumar in western Iran, the scene of fierce fighting for more than a week.

The official said 150 Iranians had been killed and many wounded.

Both sides have been reporting violent battles in the area since Dec. 11, when Iran launched its fifth major counteroffensive this year against invading Iraqi forces.

State-run Tehran Radio said over the weekend that Iranian forces had repulsed an attack in the Gilan-e-Gharb area, killing 200 Iraqis.

Iraq has appealed to the International Red Cross to ask Iranian authorities to remove thousands of Iranian troops killed in the fighting at Gilan-e-Gharb.

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