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Iranian and Iraqi troops said to be massing on central front

Long columns of Iraqi armored vehicles have moved toward the south-central sector of the Persian Gulf war front where Iran is reported to have massed troops for a fresh offensive, eyewitnesses said Wednesday.

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They said they saw large numbers of soldiers with military equipment moving toward Misan from Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra to reinforce front-line troops.

They said Iranian troops were massed in a hilly area close to the border and 24 miles east of the Iraqi town of Amara in the Misan region.

Iraqi warplanes have flown hundreds of sorties against Iranian troop concentrations in the area during the past few days, according to military communiques published in Baghdad.