At least five huge oil storage tanks have been knocked out by Iranian air strikes here and officials of the Iraqi National Oil Co. said today that two deep-sea loading terminals also suffered severe damage from attacks by Phantom jets and missile ships.
Three of the smashed tanks here were still burning today, sending up black columns of churning smoke as targeting beacons for continuing attacks on the extensive crude-oil storage facilities at this port at the head of the Persian Gulf.
More destructive by far, the officials said, were the Iranian attacks at sea against the two vital deep-water oil loading terminals 30 miles out in the gulf -- the terminals of Al Bakr and Al Amaya.
Abdul Razzak, the administrative director of INOC operations here and as a member of the ruling Baath Socialist Party a dapperly dressed leader of the town militias, said that on Sept. 24, the second day of the war between the two OPEC nations, the Iranians sent planes and missile firing patrol boats against the two oil terminals where 80 workers were based.
One worker died in the attack he said, and the rest escaped by jumping into the sea to be picked up later by rescue boats.
The attacks extensively damaged the oil-loading platforms, though Razzak said that until oil officials were able to return to the terminal they could not know how long it would take to repair them once the shooting stops.
Razzak sported matching brown slacks and tunic belted at the waist with a cross-draw pistol on his left and a zippered black purse hanging at his right. He was upbeat about the repairability of the oil facilities here once the war was over.
"All the damage is repairable," Razzak chuckled with confidence. "As soon as we win the war we will repair everything in a matter of weeks so we can pump oil to the world again."
Razzak spoke with seeming certainty of the ease with which Iraq could revive its crippled oil industry and predicted, that though Iraq could outlast Iran in a long war of attrition, the war would end in a relatively quick Iraqi victory. His confidence, however, appeared to owe as much to bravado as to tight analysts of the military contest raging farther up in the Shatt-al-Arab.
Iranian defenders seem after 11 days of combat to be as determined as the Iraqi attackers. This was driven home to residents of this sweltering oil terminal town as the war began, when Iranian revolutionaries danced out of the palm trees in white death shrouds and bared their chests on the muddy gray banks across the estuary. The chilling ritual of Shiite Moslem preparation for martyrdom was a prelude to the destructive air attacks here, and a dramatic illustration of what the Iraqis face.
Iraq has begun its own moral-boosting ritual, however. For the first time in the war Iraqi television, which has been running an endless fare of old training film clips of the Iraqi armed forces, propaganda songs and poems, showed actual filmed battle scenes from the periphery of Khorramshahr.
Iraqi T55 tanks were shown moving up across the plain before the port, firing shells into the city. A few small Iranian positions, apparently near the city, were pictured being overrun and wounded Iranians were shown being taken prisoner.
Iraqi radio, meanwhile, continued to broadcast a slogan. "The road to Jerusalem passes through Khorramshahr."