Friday, July 11, 2008

The latest extra-evil bad guys

It's worth occasionally checking the list of Multi-National Forces Iraq press releases for the latest acronym --

Two injured during IRAM attack on JSS Ur
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

BAGHDAD – A U.S. Soldier and an interpreter working with Coalition forces received minor injuries when eight explosions went off in the vicinity of Joint Security Station Ur in northeast Baghdad at approximately 1 p.m. July 8.

The explosions were caused by an Improvised Rocket Assisted Mortar attack against CF working to help the people of Iraq establish security, essential services and improve the quality of life.

So it sounds like they attach some rockets to a bunch of munitions -- of the type left around during the "stuff happens" era -- and point it towards a target. Here's a report by the AP going into more detail on what are also being called "lob bombs":

The 107 mm rockets that are used in the improvised bombs — which some call an airborne version of the roadside bombs that through the course of the war have been the leading killer of U.S. troops — are manufactured in Iran, officials said. But some officers cautioned against assuming Iran is directly involved.

The weapons are launched from small trucks and are fired in multiples of four to nine rockets at a time. The detonation is sometimes triggered by a signal from a cell phone, other times by a washing machine timer.

Brig. Gen. Will Grimsley, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, said in a separate AP interview on Thursday that for lack of a better term he refers to the group as "the evil militia." He said it is small and exhibits a high degree of technical skill in assembling the weapons and executing attacks ...

Hammond said the perpetrators are so skilled that he has likened their organization to the U.S. military's secretive and elite Delta Force. He said they have demonstrated an unusual degree of military skill and cunning.

"They don't leave a forensic trail, and that just means we're going to have to work a little bit longer" to eliminate them, he said. "Of everything we've had to deal with here, this is a tough one. They're sort of the Delta Force of this enemy we face out there. They are very good" at covering their tracks, picking out targets and preserving secrecy about their membership and movements.

At one level it seems strange that this highly improvised device can get one labelled a terrorist genius. But perhaps that's always going to be problem with Iraq. The threat evolves. And somehow each innovation is billed as something that the Iranians must have come up with.

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