Iraq said Friday its fighter jets sent missiles slamming into two tankers carrying Iranian crude in the southern Persian Gulf, hours before the latest U.S.-escorted convoy finished its journey north in the vital waterway.

The resumption of the so-called tanker war, with Iran and Iraq attacking neutral merchant mariners in efforts to hurt each other's war effort, came after a lull of five days.A military spokesman in Baghdad said Iraqi jets late Thursday slammed missiles into a large and very large naval target Iraq's standard reference for a tanker and supertanker in Iranian service in the southern Persian Gulf, scoring direct hits.

The spokesman did not give the registry or ownership of the stricken vessels, and there was no immediate confirmation of the attacks.

Iraqi troops earlier this month launched a surprise pincer offensive on the Faw peninsula in southern Iraq, which Iran occupied for more than two years.