ABOARD THE USS CORONADO IN THE PERSIAN GULF, FEB. 28 -- Iraqi and U.S. officials have made progress in reducing the probability of accidental Iraqi missile attacks on American warships in the Persian Gulf, the commander of the U.S. Central Command said yesterday.

The commander, Marine Gen. George Crist, told a group of reporters on the USS Coronado that a delegation of U.S. military officials made some progress on a recent trip to Baghdad to discuss the issue.

The trip was prompted by two incidents this month when Iraqi pilots fired missiles within eight miles of American warships. Crist said Iraqi officials told the Americans that "they did not realize the gravity of what was going on" in the latest missile firings.

Last May, an Iraqi warplane fired two missiles at the USS Stark in the gulf, killing 37 U.S. sailors.

The United States increased its gulf naval presence last July when the Navy began escorting Kuwaiti ships flying the U.S. flag. Iran had targeted Kuwaiti shipping because Kuwait backs Iraq in the gulf war.

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Cable News Network (CNN) said it would end its costly coverage of the Persian Gulf tanker war because the operation was no longer cost-effective in news value. CNN's withdrawal is the first among the four major U.S. television networks.

{Iranian warplanes, crippled until recently by shortages of spare parts, bombed three key economic targets in Iraq on Sunday, The Associated Press reported.

{Baghdad vowed to hit Iranian cities, including Tehran, in retaliation. Iraq launched an air raid Saturday on Tehran. Iran said civilian centers were hit in the raid, while Baghdad said it hit an oil refinery.

{Baghdad said Iran's long-range artillery also shelled six border towns and cities over the weekend and said an undetermined number of civilians were killed.

{Iran said that its warplanes bombed a petrochemical plant in the southern Iraqi port of Basra and other targets along the southern war front.}