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Heavy losses inflicted on allied troops, attacks repulsed: Iraq

Iraq dubbed as fabricated a footage of its troops' surrender and said Umm Qasr was still in its control.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2003 16:04 IST

The Iraqi military has inflicted "heavy losses" on US and British troops while repelling attacks in southern Iraq, Information Minister Mohammad Said al-Sahhaf said on Saturday.

"Our forces remain in their positions" in Umm Qasr, he told a press conference in Baghdad, contradicting reports that Iraq's sole significant deep-sea port had been captured by coalition forces.

An Iraqi army spokesman denied on Saturday the surrender of the 51st mechanised division to US-led coalition forces in southern Iraq.

Pentagon officials said on Friday that the regular Basra-based army division, its commander and deputy, had surrendered.

About 8,000 to 10,000 troops are believed to be in an Iraqi division.

"Heavy clashes continued all night and this (Saturday)morning. We inflicted heavy losses on them," Sahhaf said.

The minister also denied the fall to British forces of the oil-rich Fao peninsula.

"They managed to establish themselves in a small part but our forces have not withdrawn and intense clashes are continuing."

Sahhaf denounced as fabricated footage of Iraqi troops surrendering on the peninsula.

"They're liars. They kidnapped civilian residents of Fao to pass them off as surrendering soldiers," he charged.

First Published: Mar 22, 2003 14:25 IST