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The U.S. military has arrested two suspects believed involved in a series of chlorine bomb attacks in Anbar province, officials said Saturday.

In an early morning operation last week, U.S. and Iraqi troops �raided a residence in the village of Kubaysah and captured their primary targets without incident,� a military news release said.

The targets� names and nationalities were not released.

Insurgents have launched at least eight chlorine attacks in Iraq since Jan. 28. In the most recent reported bombing, insurgents attacking the Fallujah government center set off at least one truck bomb laced with chlorine, injuring or sickening 17 U.S. troops and 57 Iraqis. Other Anbar cities, including Ramadi, have also been targeted.

On March 23, Iraqi police thwarted an attempted chlorine truck bomb attack in Ramadi. The truck contained five 1,000-gallon barrels filled with chlorine, along with more than 4,000 pounds of explosives. Police arrested the driver before he could set off the bomb.

Chlorine is widely used in water and sewage treatment in Iraq. American officials have highlighted the use of it as a modified chemical weapon in insurgent attacks.

�I strongly believe this use of chlorine should not be dismissed merely as a new tactic or an emerging trend,� Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, the Pentagon�s deputy director for regional operations, said late last month in a news briefing.

�Chlorine is a poison gas. It is a poison gas being used on the Iraqi people.�

U.S. military officials have blamed the chlorine attacks on al-Qaida in Iraq. Some of the attacks have been in retaliation against Sunni tribes in Anbar who aligned themselves with the Americans.

�The use of poison gas on innocent Iraqi civilians discredits all of the Sunni extremist propaganda of being �an honorable resistance� focused on �driving out the infidels,�� Barbero said.


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