INTRODUCTION: Iran mounted a surprise offensive against Iraqi troops on Monday (5 January) close to the city of Ahwaz, the capital of the south-western Iranian province of Khuzestan.
SV & GV EXTERIOR PAN Iranian President AbolHassan Bani-Sadr waving at troops and walking on battle-field (3 shots)
SCU Hojatolislam Kamene'i leading troops in prayer
SV Injured on stretchers into vehicles (2 shots)
SV Bodies lying on battlefield (2 shots)
GV PAN Troops showing off arms riding on tank
SV Troops unloading shells off truck
GV Tanks firing (3 shots)
GV PAN Helicopters flying low
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Iran mounted a surprise offensive against Iraqi troops on Monday (5 January) close to the city of Ahwaz, the capital of the south-western Iranian province of Khuzestan. The attack, ordered by President Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, inflicted heavy casualties on the Iraqis and led to other offensives at Susangerd, Abadan and parts of Khorramshahr controlled by Iraq. More than 800 Iraqi troops were taken prisoner in the initial strike at Ahwaz. Although the Iraqis have admitted that there has been more fighting on several fronts they have denied Iranian claims of great military successes.
SYNOPSIS: President Bani-Sadr visited the scene of the Iranian offensive near Ahwaz. The Iranian attack on the city was the first of a number of assaults against the Iraqis. The renewed push resulted in fresh clashes on the southern front, near the Gulf, on Thursday (8 January). After the Ahwaz attack Iranian troops were said to have pushed Iraqi forces some 14 miles (23 kilometres) to the south. The President is reported to be confident that within two weeks Iraqi forces will be driven out of Iran.
Hojatolislam Kamene'i, a senior religious leader, led the victorious troops in prayer after the battle, which he witnessed alongside President Bani-Sadr. Mr. Kamene'i was also the first to submit a detailed report on the fighting to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Teheran. The offensive broke the stalemate in the 15-week old war and resulted in the capture of 800 Iraqi troops who were taken to Teheran by bus on Tuesday (6 January). But the death tool for the Iraqis was claimed by the Iranians to be nearly 700.
Iraqi officials have acknowledged the upsurge in fighting in a number of areas, but have denied that it could be classed as an offensive because of the uncoordinated nature of the attacks. They also denied that the Iranians had scored military victories in certain areas. An Iranian armed forces communique on Thursday (8 January) gave details of Iranian progress on the third day of the Ahwaz offensive. Air forces were said to have killed forces killed 90, destroyed 19 tanks and shot down a MIG-fighter.
The Iranians continue to give details of battle victories, but it's not known if they're making territorial gains.