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Bad driving skills turned into a bit of good fortune for American and Iraqi troops Monday near Mushada, Iraq.

A suicide truck bomb attack was averted when a dump truck intended to be a bomb overturned on the way to its target.

U.S. military officials said the apparent target was the Mushada Joint Security Station, one of some 30 planned outposts dotting Baghdad as part of the beefed-up security plan.

Initially, military officials said the dump truck was laden with explosives and containers of nitric acid — an apparent attempt at crude chemical warfare on the part of insurgent bombers.

But later, on Tuesday, officials said that the containers held fuel, not acid.

“The containers were consistent with those normally used to transport nitric acid, but upon examination, they were found to be filled with gasoline,” a military statement read.

Common industrial chemicals — including chlorine — have increasingly been used as components in large-scale bombings.

Since January, military officials have said, at least eight bombings have included the use of chlorine, which can sicken people after the initial effects of a blast are felt.

But on Monday, the driver never got that far.

According to military officials, an American patrol happened upon the overturned dump truck and at first went to give the driver assistance.

Soon, however, they realized the truck was rigged as a bomb.

“The driver was taken into custody and confessed that he was paid to attack the Joint Security Station in Mushada, which also houses the town’s Iraqi police station,” officials said.

The bomb consisted of eight fuel containers, eight “directional fragmentation explosives devices” and two large-caliber artillery rounds, officials said.

The explosives and fuel were taken away by ordnance disposal troops.

According to Tuesday’s statement, the driver of the dump truck told troops he had been paid $30,000 to carry out the attack.


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