Iraq said today it captured an Iranian naval base on a river near abadan and 41 Iranian patrol boats in the region in Iran's south-west that has resisted weeks of Riaqi onslaughts.
Iran, meanwhile, said its U.S.-built Phantom jets struck at an Iraq oil refinery outside Kirkuk, about 140 miles north of Baghdad. It was the first such report in two weeks, although Iran repeatedly hit northern Iraq's refineries earlier in the 48-day-old war.
The Iraqi News Agency said its Navy seized the 41 Iranian boats near the town of Gafar on the Karun River, which flows south of Khorramshahr, Iran's major inland port.
Iraqi forces have seized all but the eastern sections of Khorramshahr, which the Iranians renamed Khuninshahr, or "city of blood."
Gafar is close to the fork of the Karun and Bahmanshir rivers, and Abadan is directly south, on an island formed by the Karun, Bahmanshir and Shatt-al-Arab rivers.
Fighting raged on the eastern outskirts of Abadan where Tehran radio said air and guerrilla attacks forced "a tactical [iraqi] withdrawal" of several miles.
In other developments, a Beirut television station reported that Algeria asked Iraq for custody of captured Iranian Oil Minister Mohammed Javad Tondguyan, 30.
The Iraqi press said Tondguyan was wounded during his capture near Abadan and doctors were fighting to save his life Friday. Iran disputed the report, saying Tondguyan appeared in good health in news films shortly after his capture, and alleged that he had been tortured severely since then. "The Iranians are liars," an Iraqi official commented. "It is ridiculous to say he has been tortured."
Iran's Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Rajai said in an interview that the prolongation of the war was in Iran's interest because "the Iraqi regime is more likely to collapse than the Islamic regime in Tehran in case of long drawn-out conflict."
He told the Beirut daily As Safir that even if Iraq were entitled to a "few kilometers" as it claimed, that did not justify decimation of villages and civilians or occupation of territory not mentioned in the 1975 agreement settling their border dispute.