US gen: All bombings were suicide attacks

  • ASEAN+
  • Tuesday, 28 Oct 2003

BAGHDAD: All five bombings across the Iraqi capital yesterday were suicide attacks seemingly carried out by foreigners, US Brigadier General Mark Hertling told a press conference. 

“All five of those bombings were suicide bombings,” he said. 

“There are indications that certainly these attacks seem to have been the operations of foreign fighters. They are not something that we have seen in the former regime loyalists,” Hertling said. 

He said that one man who was caught at a foiled attempt to bomb the Al-Jadida police station might be a Syrian national. 

“He has a Syrian passport and claims, or police have been claiming, that when he was shot (at), he said he was a Syrian national,” he said. 

Hertling admitted that “we have not seen attacks we could attribute to foreign fighters before. We have seen those today.” 

On top of the threat posed by loyalists of ousted president Saddam Hussein, the US-led coalition has warned of the presence of foreign fighters, possibly linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network. 

The general said the five attacks took place over a period of 45 minutes.The attack in Al-Jadida was foiled.  

Hertling said the Al-Elam attack, the deadliest of the four, was carried out by someone “disguised as an Iraqi policeman and was in an Iraqi police car.” 

“For that reason they let him in,” he explained. 

Asked if the attacks demonstrated an increased organisation by anti-coalition forces, Hertling said:  

“What you are talking about are coordinated attacks, but this has to do with five people looking to their watch and saying sometime between eight and 10 they are going to explode bombs. 

“That is definitely not professional, that is amateurish,” he added. 

In Washington, President George W. Bush talked tough in the face of the deadly blasts in Baghdad insisting that violent challenges would not change the US mission in Iraq. 

“We will stay the course,” Bush promised. 

“The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react,” Bush said. – AFP 

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