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tech diver

'insurgents' Use Chlorine Gas To Kill Civilians

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Posted on Wed, Feb. 21, 2007


Tanker bombing creates a panic at Iraqi hospital. The blast raised clouds of chlorine and questions about a new mode of attack. It was another in a string of blasts.


By Brian Murphy

Associated Press


BAGHDAD - A hidden bomb ripped through a tanker carrying chlorine gas yesterday, killing nine people and filling hospital beds with more than 150 wheezing and frightened villagers after noxious plumes covered homes and schools north of Baghdad.


The attack was part of a string of blasts - including a suicide bombing that killed seven mourners at a funeral - that further rattled officials marking the first week of a major security crackdown seeking to calm the capital.


The U.S. military, meanwhile, said that an American soldier was killed yesterday in fighting in western Anbar province and that another died Sunday from a noncombat cause.


With the death toll in the Baghdad area climbing above 100 since Sunday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tried to court some rare upbeat publicity with an even rarer event - leaving his heavily guarded quarters for a visit to the city's streets and markets.


The fanfare of the security plan's launch Feb. 14 has been swept aside by a steady progression of attacks, most attributed to Sunni insurgents targeting majority Shiites. Many Sunnis believe that they are being sidelined by Maliki's government and that they face a growing threat from Shiite militias, which the prime minister, himself a Shiite, refuses to confront.


The bombing of the tanker took place near Taji, 12 miles northwest of Baghdad. A military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, said a bomb was planted under the tanker, but it was not known whether it had a timer or was detonated by remote.


Hospitals soon were flooded with terrified people - including many children - complaining of breathing problems, vomiting, and stinging eyes. Most of the people treated were released after several hours, hospital officials said.


Chlorine gas in low exposure irritates the respiratory system, eyes and skin. Higher levels can lead to accumulation of fluid in the lungs and other symptoms, and death is possible with heavy exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Authorities were left questioning whether the bombing could signal a new tactic by insurgents seeking to spread greater panic with chemical fallout.


The attacks in the capital began during the busy morning rush for goods and fuel.


A car rigged with explosives tore through a line of vehicles at a gas station in the Sadiyah district of southwestern Baghdad. At least six people were killed and 14 wounded, police said. The neighborhood is mixed between Shiites and a Sunni minority.


Later, a suicide attacker drove a bomb-laden car into a vegetable market near a Shiite enclave in southern Baghdad. At least five people were killed and seven injured, police said.


The suicide blast at the funeral came after the mourners had filled a tent in a mostly Shiite district of eastern Baghdad. The attacker, wearing a belt packed with explosives, also left 15 people wounded.


Outside Baghdad, U.S. forces pressed attacks against suspected Sunni insurgents.


Helicopter gunships were called in during fierce battles around Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, police and witnesses said.


In areas around Buhriz, about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, U.S. warplanes strafed a neighborhood and leveled a palm-tree grove during a daylong battle with Sunni factions firing mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, according to an Associated Press reporter traveling with the unit.

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Iraqi Insurgents Use 2nd 'Dirty' Bomb




BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents exploded a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters Wednesday _ the second such "dirty" chemical attack in two days _ while a U.S. official said ground fire apparently forced the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter. All nine aboard the aircraft were rescued.


The attacks offer a sweeping narrative on evolving tactics by Sunni insurgents who have proved remarkably adaptable.



Military officials worry extremists may have recently gained more access to firepower such as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rockets and heavy machine guns _ and more expertise to use them. The Black Hawk would be at least the eighth U.S. helicopter to crash or be taken down by hostile fire in the past month.


The gas cloud in Baghdad, meanwhile, suggests possible new and coordinated strategies by bombers trying to unleash toxic _ and potentially deadly _ materials. "Terrorists are using dirty means," said Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, an Iraqi military spokesman.


Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman, said initial reports indicated the chopper was brought down by "small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades" north of Baghdad, but gave no further details. All nine aboard were taken away on a rescue helicopter, he said.


In Baghdad, a pickup truck carrying chlorine gas cylinders was blown apart, killing at least five people and sending more than 55 to hospitals gasping for breath and rubbing stinging eyes, police said.


On Tuesday, a bomb planted on a chlorine tanker left more than 150 villagers stricken north of the capital. More than 60 were still under medical care on Wednesday. Chlorine causes respiratory trouble and skin irritation in low levels and possible death with heavy exposure.


In Washington, two Pentagon officials said the tactic has been used at least three times since Jan. 28, when a truck carrying explosives and a chlorine tank blew up in Anbar province. More than a dozen people were reported killed.


A third Pentagon official said the United States has been concerned about Iraqi militants' ability to get weapons like chlorine bombs and use them effectively. But the official cautioned that chlorine bombs are just one threat on a long list of possible attacks that Iraqi fighters may try to carry out.


It was unclear whether the confluence of new insurgent tactics _ attacking isolated combat posts, targeting helicopters more intensely and using chlorine bombs _ was coincidental or in response to the U.S. troop increase.


W. Patrick Lang, a former official at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the insurgents are always "seeking to achieve higher levels of effectiveness" and these new tactics are part of the normal "evolution of sophistication."


Lang said trucks filled with chlorine gas are "really quite deadly" because the gas is potent and spreads easily.


Some authorities believe militants could be trying to maximize the panic from their attacks by adding chlorine or other noxious substances.


"It is an indication of maliciousness, a desire to injure and kill innocent people in the vicinity," said Garver, who also predicted militants may begin to launch similar attacks because of the widespread mayhem caused by this week's chlorine clouds.


"If there is a particular success, we'll see copycats. ... They certainly pay attention to what they think is successful," he said.


In Najaf, meanwhile, a suicide car bomber killed at least 13 at a police checkpoint. The attack fit a pattern that's believed to drive much of Iraq's recent violence: Sunni militants seeking to provoke majority Shiites into a full-blown sectarian conflict that would leave Washington's plans in ruins.


It was the first major bombing in more than six months in Najaf, an important Shiite pilgrimage site 100 miles south of Baghdad and also the headquarters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia.


The Najaf blast hit while streets were filled with morning shoppers. At least seven of the victims were police and the rest civilians near a checkpoint _ part of the city's security cordon that includes Mahdi Army militiamen, who battled U.S. forces in the area in 2004.


More than 40 people were wounded in the blast, which sent body parts and blood over a wide boulevard. Crews stuffed limbs and bits of flesh into cardboard boxes.


In Baghdad, another Mahdi Army center was hit. A car bombing in the teeming Sadr City district killed at least three.


More than 10 people died in blasts across Baghdad _ adding to the more than 100 victims of bombings in attacks in and around the capital since Sunday. The toll cast a long shadow over authorities marking the first week of the U.S.-Iraqi security sweeps.


Moussawi, the Iraqi military spokesman, said the campaign to reclaim control of the city "has achieved very important goals despite the expected criminal reactions."


"God willing, the plan will continue to uproot terrorists and outlaws across Baghdad and other areas," he told a news conference. He added that 42 "terrorists" have been killed in the sweeps and more than 250 suspected militants arrested, but gave further details.


An American military spokesman, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, told a news conference that U.S. and Iraqi forces were focusing on "belts" of extremist activity in Baghdad and suggested talks are ongoing over when and how to move into Sadr City.


It is believed that al-Sadr has ordered his forces not to challenge the security operation up to this point.


"Anytime you can find a political solution instead of a military one it is better," Caldwell said.

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Shame they dont get a memorial and a two minute silence every year




I just gave you, Shaidmahmood, a moment of silence in my house . Even my dog stayed quiet. Feel better now ? :sl:

Edited by tech diver

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oh yes, thank you for your concern... it was appreciated however it wasnt me that needed the two minutes silence...


i havent been killed yet...!


the silence was for the victims of iraq....

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