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WASHINGTON — Roadside bomb attacks against supply convoys in Iraq have doubled in the last year, according to the commander for multinational forces logistics support in Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Yves Fontaine, commander of the 1st Corps Support Command, said convoys are encountering about 30 improvised explosive devices a week, the majority in the Baghdad area. That’s up from around 15 a week last summer.

But Fontaine said the increase in roadside bombs hasn’t led to an increase in convoy casualties, thanks to better vehicle armor.

“Now soldiers are safe in their Humvees and trucks, and they walk out of the incidents,” he said.

Earlier this month Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, commander of Multinational Brigade Northwest, said U.S. forces have seen a decline in the number of IED attacks over the past few months, but the lethality has stayed high.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Venable said he doesn’t believe the two statements conflict, since Fontaine’s comments focused only on the convoy vehicles.

He could not say if the supply trucks are encountering more roadside bombs than patrol or other vehicles, but noted there is no evidence convoys specifically are being targeted with the IEDs.

Fontaine said the increased attacks have not significantly disrupted the delivery of fuel, parts and other supplies across Iraq. He also noted that increased use of aircraft for deliveries has decreased the number of convoy runs by about 40 a month.

He echoed concerns from other commanders in Iraq that the IEDs are growing more sophisticated, but said new technologies and the improved vehicle armor have stayed ahead of those improvements.

Fontaine also said he is pleased with the progress of Iraqi logistics forces, noting that three regiments have already begun operating independently. He said eventually nine or 10 will be needed to handle all supply operations for the entire country when coalition forces withdraw.


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