MANAMA, Bahrain -- Iraqi jets fired sea-skimming Exocet missiles at two supertankers transporting Iranian oil through the Persian Gulf and a Romanian freighter carrying timber came under Iranian attack in the waterway, shipping sources said Friday.
No casualties were reported in the Iraqi strikes against a Greek and Cypriot tanker in northern gulf waters, but the skipper and cook of the Romanian ship were wounded slightly during the raid by at least one Iranian gunboat.
The strikes on neutral shipping are part of a tit-for-tat 'tanker war,' a spillover of the nearly 8-year-old Iran-Iraq war into the strategic waterway.
The strike on the Romanian vessel, the Plataresi, as it headed to Kuwait with a cargo of timber was the second confirmed Iranian assault on a merchant ship since the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner over the gulf Sunday, killing all 290 people aboard.
Shippers said there were no American or other warships in the area, 120 miles southeast of Kuwait, at the time of the attacks. U.S. warships in the gulf are under orders to help any neutral mariner under attack that requests assistance.
An Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad said Iraqi jets attacked three 'large naval targets' -- Iraq's term for supertankers in Iranian service -- and scored effective hits before returning safely to their base.
Greek shipping sources confirmed two of the three raids.
The shipping sources said Iraqi pilots may have been fooled by an Iranian decoy vessel during the nighttime assault.
A spokesman for the Merchant Marine Ministry in Piraeus, Greece, told United Press International that the 268,255-ton Fellowship L came under missile attack late Thursday about 30 miles south of Iran's main Kharg Island oil loading terminal in the northern gulf.
Kharg island is a favorite target for Iraqi fighter-bombers because of its proximity to the Iraqi mainland and its lax air defenses.
The ministry spokesman said in a telephone interview there were no injuries reported after the French-made Exocet missile struck the Fellowship L's engine room, sparking a fire and causing the giant vessel to drift.
Salvage tugs in Iranian service were towing the Greek supertanker, which has Greek officers and a Pakistani crew, to a northern gulf port for repairs, he said.
Iraqi jets then fired another Exocet at the 107,432-ton Cypriot tanker, Star Ray, as it steamed from Kharg to Larak Island, also in the northern gulf, and set it on fire, the Greek spokesman said.
Gulf-based shipping sources said at least one Iranian gunboat slammed rocket-propelled grenades into the side of a Romanian freighter in the northern gulf late Thursday, wounding two people.
The sources in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, picked up radio conversations indicating the Romanian skipper and cook of the 5,934-ton Plataresi were wounded slightly in the attack, which occurred near Iran's Farsi Island.
In Seoul, South Korea, the bodies of 12 South Korean construction workers killed in an Iraqi bombing of a gas refinery in Iran June 30 returned home Friday on a chartered Korean Airlines plane with 74 survivors, including 16 wounded in the attack.
The workers were employees of Daelim Industrial Co., one of South Korea's leading contractors, which had been building a $230 million gas refinery at Khanggan on the Iranian mainland in the southern gulf.