Iraqi warplanes ranged over Iran yesterday in a series of raids on the cities of Isfahan, Kermanshah and Bushehr, an Iraqi military communique said.
Sources in the Persian Gulf reported that Iraqi jet fighters resumed attacks on Iran's Kharg Island oil port, blowing up a supply ship and killing six of its crew.
At the same time, an Iraqi air blockade on commercial aviation in Iranian air space was in effect. Iran vowed to reduce the Iraqi capital of Baghdad to a "pile of rubble" if the Iraqis carried out a threat to shoot down civilian airliners flying over Iran.
Hundreds of foreigners were evacuated from Tehran on Tuesday and most airlines have halted flights to the Iranian capital. Airline officials in Dubai on the Persian Gulf said Iran Air was still flying, but that flights had been restricted to daylight hours.
There has been a week of heavy fighting on the ground and increased air and missile attacks by both sides in the war that started in September 1980.
Neither Iran nor Iraq mentioned any new ground fighting north of Basra where the Iranians launched a major offensive March 11. Iraq reported Monday that the invasion was crushed and military communiques yesterday said Iranian casualties totaled 27,200 during the battle in the marshland.
Military sources at embassies in Bahrain said their study of the conflicting battle communiques issued by Iran and Iraq and intelligence reports indicated Iraq had defeated the Iranian thrust. The sources, who spoke on condition thery not be identified, put Iranian losses at about 14,000 killed and twice as many wounded.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Edward P. Djerejian said it appeared "that the Iraq have blunted and to a large extent rolled back the latest Iranian offensive. Casualty figures on both sides will probably never be known, but apparently are large."