U.S. and Allies Capture More Foreign Fighters

(New York Times) Eric Schmitt - American and Iraqi military forces in Iraq are capturing larger numbers of Saudis, Syrians, and other foreign fighters, in a new indication that combatants from outside Iraq are playing a more prominent role in the increasingly violent insurgency. American officials estimate that the hardcore insurgency is made up of 12,000 to 20,000 Iraqi and non-Iraqi fighters. Forensic investigations have disclosed that up to 20% of the suicide car bombers in Iraq are Algerian. Sen. Joseph Biden Jr. of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said last week after a trip to Iraq that senior American military and intelligence officials told him privately "about their belief that there had been a considerable increase in the number of jihadists coming across the border, more sophisticated and more capable than a month ago, five months ago, a year ago." "The mix has many more Islamicists coming across the border, particularly the Syrian border," Biden said, and officials told him that "a disproportionate number" of jihadists came from Saudi Arabia.

2005-06-21 00:00:00

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