Foreigners Blamed for Iraq Suicide Attacks

(AP/Washington Post) Patrick Quinn and Katherine Shrader - Foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are behind most suicide missions, U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials said. Iraqis have carried out less than 10% of more than 500 suicide attacks since 2003, according to one defense official. At least 213 attacks have occurred this year. The key role of foreign fighters in suicide attacks is one reason many senior military officials tend to view the war as developing into an international struggle against militant Islam. The military brass say Islamic extremists like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda in Iraq organization are determined to start a civil war in Iraq by attacking Iraqi security forces and members of the country's Shiite majority. Overall, the number of foreign fighters coming into the country seems to be on the rise, compared to six months ago, said the top general in the region, U.S. Gen. John Abizaid. The majority of foreign bombers in Iraq come from countries in the Persian Gulf, mainly Saudi Arabia and Yemen as well as Jordan, U.S. officials say. Former CIA officer Robert Baer said he was told that there are so many suicide bombers coming out of the Persian Gulf states that the networks that deploy jihadist martyrs are turning away potential attackers.

2005-07-01 00:00:00

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