View Full Version : Iraq: Suicide Attacks Rising Rapidly

06-02-2005, 05:30 AM
Increasingly, the bombers are Iraqis instead of foreign infiltrators. Civilians and police, not GIs, are the prime targets.

By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer

BAGHDAD Suicide bombings have surged to become the Iraqi insurgency's weapon of choice, with a staggering 90 attacks accounting for most of last month's 750 deaths at the militants' hands.

Suicide attacks outpaced car bombings almost 2-to-1 in May, according to figures compiled by the U.S. military, The Times and other media outlets. In April, there were 69 suicide attacks, more than in the entire year preceding the June 28, 2004, hand-over of sovereignty.

The frequency of suicide bombings here is unprecedented, exceeding that of Palestinian attacks against Israel and of other militant insurgencies, such as the Chechen rebellion in Russia. Baghdad saw five suicide bombings in a six-hour span Sunday.

Early today, three suicide bombers killed at least 16 Iraqis in blasts north of Baghdad.

The first, around 8 a.m., ripped through a restaurant in Tuz Khurmatu where the Kurdish deputy prime minister, Rosh Shawais, was having breakfast. He was unharmed but a bodyguard was among the nine killed.

In Baqubah, another blast killed the deputy head of the Diyala province governing council, Hussein Alwan Timimi, and four others.

In Kirkuk, a bomber plowed his car into a U.S. consulate convoy. Two Iraqis died and 12 were hurt, a witness said.

With U.S.-led forces now better protected with concrete blast walls and rings of concertina wire and sandbags, militants have taken to targeting Iraqi police and civilians in their bid to convince Iraqis that their new leaders can't protect them. And increasingly, Iraqis are believed to be carrying out some of the suicide attacks.

U.S. officials and Iraqi analysts say the insurgents' resources are increasing on several fronts: money to buy vehicles and explosives, expertise in wiring car and human bombs and intelligence leaks that help them target U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Suicide attacks are on the rise because the explosive devices "are simple to construct and easy to operate, thus making suicide bombers difficult to detect," said Navy Cmdr. Fred Gaghan, in charge of the Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell in Iraq that studies bomb scenes for clues to insurgent tactics.

"They are viewed by terrorists as a successful means with which to kill or injure coalition, Iraqi security forces and innocent Iraqi citizens," Gaghan said.

"At this time, there is nothing to indicate that the availability of volunteers is on the decline," he said, noting the media coverage and videos of suicide bombings posted on the Internet that are said to fuel extremist recruitment.

Saad Obeidi, a retired Iraqi major general and security expert, suggested that President Bush had invited Islamic extremists to bring their fight against America here.

"One aim of the U.S. military once it invaded Iraq was to lure all insurgents and terrorists from all over the world to confront them here," he said.

The first suicide bombings of the insurgency were attributed to foreign infiltrators, mostly Palestinians, Yemenis, Syrians and Saudis. But Obeidi believes that has changed.

"The Iraqi way of thinking in the past totally rejected that someone would kill himself," Obeidi said. "But once they realized how powerful this weapon is and saw its effectiveness, Iraqis started getting involved in suicide operations."

Some U.S. officials agree.

"There's a kind of axiom out there that says Iraqis aren't suicide bombers," Gen. George W. Casey, commander of multinational forces in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad this year. "I'm not sure that's the case. I believe there are Iraqi Islamic extremists that are very capable of getting into cars and blowing themselves up."

Other U.S. officials say they still believe that foreign fighters are responsible for most of the suicide attacks, which have increasingly targeted Iraqis.

"There is no evidence this is being done by Iraqis," said U.S. Maj. Gen. John DeFreitas III, intelligence chief for the multinational mission that has about 150,000 troops in Iraq. "In every case we've seen, the driver has been a foreigner."

Coalition officials acknowledge, however, that the numbers show an Iraqi-dominated insurgency. Fewer than 5% of those killed or captured were foreigners, one official noted. He also described the influx from abroad as making up a "very, very small part" of the estimated 12,000 to 20,000 insurgents.

A recent attack in the city of Baqubah points to an Iraqi role in suicide bombings.

On May 15, Imad Shakir, a police major, was inspecting his security unit outside the Baqubah courthouse when he saw an unfamiliar young man in an ill-fitting police uniform approaching.

As the unit's officers asked the purported first lieutenant for identification, Shakir became suspicious and leaped to seize him. But the impostor detonated his explosives vest, lumpy beneath his blue clothing, killing Shakir and three bystanders.

What set the Baqubah bombing apart from the few others in which survivors got a glimpse of the attacker was that the killer was recognizably Iraqi, said the Diyala province police officer in charge of the investigation.

"The injured people assured us that the suicide attacker was Iraqi. They could tell by the way he talked and from his appearance," said the officer, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

Obeidi, the retired Iraqi general, sees the rise in suicide bombings as recognition among Iraqi extremists that such attacks are an effective weapon against the superior numbers and arms of the coalition forces.

Insurgents "are choosing this method to create a balance against superpower might," he said. "The use of such methods is linked with some spiritual or religious motives. The aim is to die in the name of religion and become a martyr and go to paradise."

Maj. Gen. Munem Said Abdulqadir, head of the Iraqi police force explosive ordnance demolition team in Baghdad, faulted the now-disbanded U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority for barring even mid-level figures of Saddam Hussein's regime from the new security order.

He said he feared there were thousands of technically savvy and disaffected Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, vulnerable to recruitment as suicide bombers.

"Jobless people are very easy targets," he said of the Iraqis being drawn into bomb-making and suicide missions. "Find them jobs, and most will give up."

A few would-be suicide bombers survived their attacks or were arrested after their explosives failed to detonate, and Iraqi police have mined those rare intelligence opportunities.

Early this year, Iraqi TV showed footage of a confession from a burned and bandaged Saudi bomber, Ahmed Abdullah Abdul-Rahman Alshai. An Iraqi bomb-maker arrested in January, Sami Mohammed Ali Said Jaaf, reportedly told interrogators that he had a role in orchestrating bombings in Baghdad, including the Aug. 19, 2003, blast at the U.N. mission that killed 22 people.

But insights to the suicide bombers have been few.

"Often with suicide bombers, there's not enough left of them to be identified," one senior U.S. military official said. With rare exceptions, the perpetrators wage their final battle in anonymity, traveling to their targets without identity papers to deprive police of any intelligence in the event of their capture.

But some techniques have come to light. The police officer investigating the Baqubah case reported a recent innovation: suicide car bombers cruising the streets with their payloads in search of targets. Witnesses at several car bombings last month told police the drivers appeared to have made last-minute decisions about what to strike.

Other attacks appeared to have taken much more planning.

"They are trying to penetrate defensive measures by conducting more complex attacks, double suicide attacks or suicide attacks combined with other weapons such as small-arms fire or mortar attacks," said Gaghan, the Navy officer.

In Hillah, south of Baghdad, where two suicide bombers killed dozens at a demonstration Monday, the second bomber followed the fleeing crowd.

At the scene of another recent bombing, police found a foot duct-taped to the car's accelerator and hands fastened to the steering wheel.

Such restriction, perhaps the result of coercion, would hinder the effectiveness of a suicide strike because the driver would have no control over the detonation, Gaghan noted. Other analysts speculated that the measure wasn't evidence of forced participation but was taken to ensure that the vehicle reached its target even if the driver was shot while approaching.

But those privy to the bombing investigations say that drivers are sometimes duped into deadly bombings.

"Some who drive car bombs don't know they are going to blow up. They are told to take a car to a certain location and that they will receive further information afterward," said Kamil Abdulmajeed, chief judge for the 2nd Iraqi Central Criminal Court. "When they arrive, the car is suddenly detonated by remote control."

In the bomb-rattled capital, authorities have advised residents to be vigilant for signs of bombers: cars traveling at high speed with a young male driver as the sole occupant, a low-riding chassis, trunks heavily loaded or tilted. At a May 21 defense strategy session with coalition forces, an Iraqi general said cars had been spotted with religious writing on the side to identify them to other suicide drivers. He did not elaborate, according to a U.S. military report on the session.

The suicide bomber's vehicle of choice has also been consistent. White Volkswagen Passats made in Brazil, which proliferated in the capital during Hussein's regime because he gave them as presents to the families of those killed in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, were used in at least half a dozen blasts that rattled Baghdad last week.

web page (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/la-fg-bombers2jun02,0,4779899.story?page=1&coll=la-home-headlines)

06-02-2005, 06:22 AM
Ok, that's it! Break out the nukes! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-02-2005, 08:16 AM
BAGHDAD Suicide bombings have surged to become the Iraqi insurgency's weapon of choice, with a staggering 90 attacks accounting for most of last month's 750 deaths at the militants' hands.
<hr /></blockquote> The religion of peace. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


Scott Lee
06-02-2005, 10:33 AM
Ed...Just another damn good reason for us to get the heck out of there. Wanna bet those "suicide attacks" would drop to near zero, if we were not there operating a "police state"?


06-02-2005, 03:55 PM
Folks, it may well be time for us to walk away from this quagmire &amp; cut our losses. However, when we do, I expect the Sunnis to go "balls to the wall" to regain their power. The Shiites &amp; the Kurds will once again be a depressed people, maybe the Shiites &amp; Kurds operate under a motto of "Live &amp; let Live", but the Sunnis' motto is "Kill &amp; Control".

Either way, we pay a tremendous bill. $200,000,000,000.00 is a lot of money to move Saddam Hussein &amp; the Sunnis aside &amp; then let that political realm regain power, only to wreak havoc &amp; revenge on their own countrymen &amp; then in our country.

The world will expect the U.S.A. to pay for all the damage done to that country's infrastructure, because there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction.

While we pay $50+ dollars a day for oil, the Atabian countries are having a "hey day". Your Kid's kids will have a hard time paying off this debt.

The leadership of this country is in morally worse condition than the taxpayers are financially.

Gayle in MD
06-03-2005, 07:07 AM
Only George Bush could have been dumb enough or cockey enough to think that for the first time in history, an occupation of another country would work, and not fall into either civil war, or worse.

The one time it worked, Malaysia, and the British were there for fifteen years! Even the British say it was a collosal mistake!

Terrorist base has grown by four times, according to recent estimates, attacks growing by four times what they were...

I wonder, do the words, "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time" have any validity to the Bushyites now???? I'm sure not.

Oh well, atleast Bush got the number three man at the top, SIX TIMES!

Gayle in Md, my heart breaks for our young men and women, and Bush and Cheney have blood all over their hands.

06-03-2005, 09:53 AM
Just another damn good reason for us to get the heck out of there. Wanna bet those "suicide attacks" would drop to near zero, if we were not there operating a "police state"?
<hr /></blockquote> Wanna bet they wouldn't? They would continue until they took over control of the government. Whether we are there or not.

Still does not say much about the religion of peace.


06-04-2005, 07:09 PM
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Killing for God

Mosul, Northern Iraq


An American soldier told me today that he has been telling kids to stay away from his unit so they won't be killed. This is harder, on all parties, than it might seem to anyone who hasn't seen firsthand how much the kids here love the soldiers. The sound of heavily armored trucks rumbling through the streets has the same effect on these kids as the tinkling bells of the "ice cream man" back home. Imagine having to tell kids to run the other way when they hear the ice cream truck on a summer afternoon.

Recently, an insurgent hid behind a child in order to attack Americans. The tactic came as no surprise to the soldiers here. Terrorists routinely play wounded or feign their surrender in order to get close enough to launch an attack on Coalition or Iraqi Forces. In January I wrote about one bomber who grabbed the hand of a small child while she was playing on a sidewalk. Smiling, he walked with the child in hand, approaching some Iraqi police, and exploded. Americans standing close by were unharmed.

During the month of May in Mosul, there have been so many terrorist attacks killing women and children--often when no American or Iraqi Forces have been in the area-- that they are barely news. It happened again on Saturday. This time by radio-controlled IED.

Soldiers from Deuce Four happened to stop three cars in the immediate vicinity where explosives were buried on the roadside, and while Americans searched those cars with women and children about, a terrorist clicked the radio switch, and slaughtered eight Iraqi civilians. Three of them children under the age of 10. Other children were wounded.

During the same attack, Deuce Four lost one much-loved and respected soldier who died at the scene. Eleven other soldiers were wounded. Tonight, over dinner, amid the sharing of memories of their friend, came the sad sharing of ways to make the kids stay away on future patrols.

One wonders if the terrorists bother to wait till the funerals to climb on their cars and do their rifle pumping victory dances.

And, the enemy posted the following today:

Multiple Martyrdom Operations West Of Mosul, More Than 40 Americans Killed, Al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility

In The Name Of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Mercifull Allah!

Make our shots hit their intended targets and fasten our feet firmly to the ground.Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. Final victory is on the side of the believers, and no aggression except on those who transgress all bounds. Peace and prayers be on the Imam of Mujahideen, our prophet, Muhammad, his family, and his companions. A lion from the Martyrdom Seekers Brigade, drove his explosive-laden vehicle on Saturday, 20 Rabie Al-Thani (May 28, 2005), towards an American camp, west of Mosul. He detonated his vehicle at the entrance to the first of several check points. The explosion killed all soldiers at that check point and left a hole in the wall, big enough for the second martyrdom operation. Your honored brother (the second martyr), drove a water truck into the camp through the hole that was caused by the first explosion, except that the truck was full of explosives instead of water. As he arrived inside the camp many cross worshippers came to welcome the brave water delivery driver, but at that very same moment, your brother pushed the buttons and more than 40 cross worshippers fell dead, and more than 80 were wounded, by the Grace of Allah.

Allahu Akbar...Allahu Akbar...Allahu Akbar

Glory is to Allah, His Messenger, and to the Mujahideen


This was not total enemy propoganda: These were real attacks. But here is the actual damage from the SIGACTs:

Total: 1 person killed, 19 wounded, no Americans hurt