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Iraq Marks Recapture of Faw With Free Cars to Troops

April 17, 1989

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ President Saddam Hussein handed out medals Monday and promised cars to all soldiers who helped recapture the Faw peninsula from Iran one year ago during a turning point of the eight-year war.

In the anniversary ceremony carried by state-run television, Hussein said even soldiers who were given cars last year after the 36-hour battle would receive another auto.

He did not say how many vehicles or what make were involved.

Several thousand troops, led by the elite Presidential Guard, took part in the fighting on the southern peninsula.

Hussein also declared the anniversary a national holiday, and the Iraqi media hailed the day. The English-language Baghdad Observer daily called the recapture of Faw from forces of Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini a landmark in Arab history.

″It was the sweet nectar which turned to bitter poison for Khomeini,″ it said.

Khomeini had compared his acceptance of a U.N.-brokered cease-fire with Iraq in August to drinking poison.

The Iranians captured Faw in February 1986 and held it for two years despite Iraqi efforts to dislodge their forces from marshlands around the battered oil terminal town of Faw.

In April 1988, the Iraqis launched a surprise attack and retook the peninsula.