As the Gulf War entered its ninth week on Monday (17 November), the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported hundreds of Iranian troops had been killed in bitter fighting with Iraqi forces for the southwest Iranian town of Susangerd.
CU Iraqi anti-aircraft guns firing at iranian planes. (2 SHOTS)
SV Iraqi tank turret swivelling and field gun being prepared. (2 SHOTS)
SV & LV PAN Field gun and tanks firing into Abadan.
CU & LV Anti-aircraft guns firing. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Wreckage of aircraft. (2 SHOTS)
TRAVELLING SHOT FROM Car of countryside near Mehran, Iran.
LV PAN Rubble of damaged buildings.
GV & CU Rubble and debris. (3 SHOTS)
SV & CU Broken apparatus in open area at training camp. (2 SHOTS)
LV Debris PAN TO damaged stone building.
SV Iraqi soldiers walking into building.
SV & LV Iraqi flag flying above damaged building through which Iraqi soldiers moving. (4 SHOTS)
SV Iraqi soldiers outside building.
CU & SV Iraqi flag over intact building.
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Background: As the Gulf War entered its ninth week on Monday (17 November), the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported hundreds of Iranian troops had been killed in bitter fighting with Iraqi forces for the southwest Iranian town of Susangerd. The agency said Iraqi troops and tanks had entered the town, situated about 20 miles (33 kms) from the Iraqi border, and were engaged in house-to-house fighting. Meanwhile, the Iraqis continued their bombardment of the oil-refining complex at Abadan, and dug strong defensive position around the town of Mehran, on the northern battlefront.
SYNOPSIS: The Iraqis have failed to seize Abadan despite a seige of several weeks. On Saturday (15 November), Teheran radio claimed Iranian troops had killed more than two hundred soldiers in an attack on Iraqi position above the town. The radio said both sides had been involved in hand-to-hand combat, and the Iraqis had been forced to retreat two miles (three kilometres) on Abadan's northern front. The Iraqi High Command issued a communique stating that after a helicopter attack on the port area, five Iranian oil tanks had been left ablaze.
Iraqi field commanders have told newsmen they expect to take Abadan within days. Although Iranian claims of a concerted counter-attack make this seem unlikely, the Iraqis are thought to be preparing a final offensive before the rainy season slows their armour.
Mehran lies on the road from the Iraqi town of Al-Kut to Dezful, an important Iranian town which has been besieged by Iraqi fores for several weeks. Mehran has been shattered by fierce artillery barrage. On Saturday (15 November) Iraqi troops around the town were entrenching surface-to-air missiles (SAM), anti-aircraft guns and artillery in bays cut out of the arid soil.
An abandoned Iranian army base fifteen miles (25 Km) to the south east has been extensively modified and taken over by the Iraqi forces, who are also surfacing the dirt road towards Dezful. The road-bulling operation is a precaution against winter rain, which can turn the red desert soil into a sea of mud and prevent the passage of trucks and armoured vehicles.
Buildings in Mehran bear evidence of heavy gunfire, but there has been no sign of spent cartridges or bullet-pocked walls that would suggest street fighting. The Iraqis say townspeople fled from their guns without offering resistance. The Iraqi High Command refuse to discuss overall strategy, but Western military attaches believe Iraq is et on capturing the entire Tigris-Euphrates flood pain, including most of oil-rich Khuzestan province, to use it as a lever in future bargaining with Iran. In the northern sector of the front, there is considered little advantage in Iraq's trying to penetrate the easily-defended and economically less important highlands. For the Iraqis, Mehran serves as part of a defence line where they can settle in for a long winter holding operation.