U.S. troops in Iraq track down insurgents’ enhanced explosives
As Iraqis reeled from the resumption of a suicide bombing campaign that included an attack in which a suicide bomber killed dozens when he blew up a fuel tanker Saturday, U.S. and Iraqi forces in Baghdad have launched another operation aimed at curbing violence.
Soldiers from the 256th Brigade Combat Team and the 6th Iraqi Army Division are taking part in Operation Warrior’s Rage, a series of “cordon and search operations and combat patrols,” officials said Monday. Some 70 suspected insurgents were snared in what the military called “targeted raids” seeking specific individuals.
In many cases, according to a news release from the U.S. command in Baghdad, neighbors of the suspects pointed out their locations when they were not found at home.
The 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Brigade Combat Team; 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment; and 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment took part in the raids.
According to the release, the soldiers found a dozen artillery rounds fashioned into homemade bombs “enhanced with propane to make a larger fireball in the explosion.”
In recent weeks, U.S. military commanders have warned about an increase in the use of what they are calling “incendiary IEDs,” using the military acronym for improvised explosive devices. Such bombs use gas, oil and other materials to add fire — essentially napalm — to a regular bomb.
U.S. units around the country have received information describing the enhanced explosives. In the worst incident in the most recent spate of attacks, a suicide bomber detonated himself near a fuel truck near a Shiite mosque in a crowded market south of Baghdad on Saturday, witnesses said.
That bombing killed at least 90 people, many of whom were shopkeepers in the area. The attack occurred in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad, and is the second largest bombing in Iraq since the war began in 2003. A February bombing in Hillah killed 125 people, mainly Iraqi police and military recruits.
Saturday’s bombing in Musayyib killed mainly civilians, Iraqi officials said Monday.