Friday, November 07, 2008

Iraqi insurgents expand the use of 'sticky' bombs, Magnetized devices to underside of vehicles & detonated by remote control, so far 200 times.

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi insurgents are increasingly using magnetically attached bombs known as "sticky IEDs" (Sticky Bombs were used in the WWII movie "Saving Private Ryan") to assassinate mid- and low-level Iraqi officials, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

Rigged with magnets so they will adhere to the undersides of automobiles and detonated by remote control or with timers, the bombs have been used in Iraq sporadically since 2004. This year, U.S. military officials said, they have investigated roughly 200 cases involving magnetic bombs, and Iraqi officials said they have noted an increase in assassination attempts in which attackers use guns equipped with silencers. See my prior post, Thursday, November 06, 2008, Uptick in Baghdad attacks reveals new insurgent tactics, sticky IEDs mounted-on adhesive or magnets, Sticky Bombs right out of "Saving Private Ryan"

The magnetic bombs "are very dangerous and very difficult to discover," said Brig. Gen. Ali Abdul Ameer, a police commander in Baghdad. "It's stuck on in one place, and it blows up in another place."

Sticky Bombs Right out of "Saving Private Ryan", Alternately referred to as a sticky charge, sticky grenade or sticky bomb, the makeshift explosive employed by paratroopers during the Battle of Ramelle consisted of grease-covered socks filled with composition B or TNT explosive material. A fuse was inserted into the explosives and lit just before the explosive was placed on its target. Although the first attempt to use one of the sticky bombs failed, and the paratrooper holding the device was blown apart instantly, two other paratroopers successfully planted two sticky bombs on a German Tiger tank. The resulting explosions knocked off the tank's tread and succeeded in immobilizing the tank and blocking the street.

The bombs have been used against Iraqi government officials, particularly those who work in the army and police. Local leaders, judges, journalists and members of U.S.-backed Sunni armed groups also have been attacked.

U.S. and Iraqi officials did not release comparative data on the use of magnetic bombs in recent years. But Iraqi officials say the increased use of the weapons led them this year to warn all government employees to inspect their vehicles each morning and to avoid leaving cars unattended in unsecured areas.

Even when they are not responding to emergencies, Iraqi army and police officials drive through Baghdad with sirens blaring to avoid getting stuck in traffic, which is when the bombs are sometimes affixed.

Al-Qaida in Iraq "and other terrorist groups attempt to spread fear and intimidation among the public by use of these brutal tactics and try to create the perception that the Iraqi government is incapable of protecting local citizens," said a senior U.S. military intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Although U.S. military officials said magnetic bombs have not been placed under their vehicles, many American officials have begun to inspect their cars, even inside the protected Green Zone. Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said "most of the attacks are against MOI officials, because this ministry started to become professional and we are targeting all kinds of outlaws." He said insurgents occasionally use glue to stick bombs to vehicles.

Khalaf said police recently detained 12 people suspected of carrying out assassinations using guns fitted with silencers, and have launched operations to target networks that use such weapons. "In the last three weeks, there's been a huge amount of activity with these kinds of operations," he said.

Before heading to work Tuesday morning, Ali Jabar Aduan got down on one knee to check the chassis of his car for explosives. Later that day, a sticky IED -- or improvised explosive device -- turned the government-owned Kia sport sedan he drives into a ball of charred metal.

Bill Warner
Private Investigator