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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.

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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.