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Friday, July 01, 2005

Most suicide bombers in Iraq are foreign Muslims

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The vast majority of suicide attackers in Iraq are thought to be foreigners — mostly Saudis and other Gulf Arabs — and the trend has become more pronounced this year with North Africans also streaming in to carry out deadly missions, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

The bombers are recruited from Sunni communities, smuggled into Iraq from Syria after receiving religious indoctrination, and then quickly bundled into cars or strapped with explosive vests and sent to their deaths, the officials told The Associated Press. The young men are not so much fighters as human bombs — a relatively small but deadly component of the Iraqi insurgency.

"The foreign fighters are the ones that most often are behind the wheel of suicide car bombs, or most often behind any suicide situation," said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Don Alston, spokesman for the Multinational Force in Iraq.

And of course the suicide bombers commit most of the mass-murder (must get stats on this, anyone know of any?). We posted earlier on the confirmed number of dead foreign fighters documented in Iraq.

hat-tip: LGF.

UPDATE @ 6:40PM:
Since 2003, less than 10 percent of more than 500 homicide attacks have been carried out by Iraqis, according to one defense official. So far this year, there have been at least 213 homicide attacks — 172 by vehicle and 41 by bombers on foot — according to an AP count.

Another U.S. official said American authorities believe Iraqis are beginning to look at homicide bombers as a liability. "Just as there is no shortage of people willing to do this, nor is there any shortage of targets, and they tend to be police," the official said.

The trend doesn't mean Iraqis aren't part of the bloody insurgency: On the contrary, Iraqi insurgents are thought to be responsible for much of the violence and fighting in the country, although most of those are non-homicide attacks.

"I still think 80 percent of the insurgency, the day to day activity, is Iraqi — the roadside bombings, mortars, direct weapons fire, rifle fire, automatic weapons fire," said Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East expert with the Congressional Research Service, which advises U.S. lawmakers.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 7/01/2005 02:40:00 pm