U.S. troops find large amounts of chemicals in car bomb factory raid
BAGHDAD, Iraq – U.S. troops raided a car bomb factory west of Baghdad with five buildings full of propane tanks and ordinary chemicals the military believes were to be used in bombs, a spokesman said Thursday, a day after insurgents blew up a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the chlorine attack Wednesday — the second such “dirty” chemical attack in two days — signaled a change in insurgent tactics, and the military was fighting back with targeted raids.
“What we are seeing is a change in the tactics, but their strategy has not changed. And that’s to create high-profile attacks to instill fear and division amongst the Iraqi people,” he told CNN. “It’s a real crude attempt to raise the terror level by taking and mixing ordinary chemicals with explosive devices, trying to instill that fear within the Iraqi people.”
But he suggested the strategy was backfiring by turning public opinion against the insurgents, saying the number of tips provided by Iraqis had doubled in the last six months.
One of those tips led U.S. troops to a five separate buildings near Fallujah, where they found the munitions containing chemicals, three vehicle bombs being assembled, including a truck bomb, about 65 propane tanks and “all kinds of ordinary chemicals,” Caldwell said. He added that he believed the insurgents were going to try to mix the chemicals with explosives.
“Ordinary,” perhaps, but there are many such chemicals that weren’t meant to be burnt or inhaled, not to mention the myriad unsafe combinations of otherwise generally harmless substances that could increase the body count, as well as the level of panic, that a car bomb can cause.