Fallujah government center struck by chlorine suicide attack
Iraq Police, Army stop bomber short of target; dozens wounded, poisoned
Al Qaeda in Iraq is conducting a full fledged chemical war in Anbar province. Today, Al Qaeda conducted yet another chlorine gas suicide bombing, this time directed at the Fallujah government center, in the very heart of the city of Fallujah. The attack was coordinated; Multinational Forces West described it as "complex." The two suicide truck bombs, suicide attcks on foot and small arms fire was preceded by mortar fire, which likely was designed to distract the guards at the gates.
"The attack began at 6:33 a.m. with mortar fire, followed by two truck bombs and small arms fire. Iraqi Police identified the first suicide attacker and fired on the truck, causing it to detonate before reaching the compound," according to the Multinational Forces West press release. "Iraqi Army soldiers spotted the second suicide truck approaching the gate and engaged it with small arms fire, causing it to also detonate near the entrance of the compound."
1st Lt. Shawn Mercer, the Deputy Public Affairs Officer for Multi National Force - West provided an update on the attack:
Fallujah Police and Coalition Forces spotted the first truck bomb as it approached the Government Center compound and engaged it, causing it to prematurely detonate. There were no indications that chlorine was used in the first attack and the explosion resulted in no Iraqi Security or Coalition Forces killed or wounded. The second suicide truck bomb, which did contain chlorine, was also engaged. However, the second truck made it through the outer perimeter of the compound, detonating near a large barrier wall adjacent to the Iraqi Army barracks.
As Iraqi and Coalition Forces responded to the suicide attacks, the post was further attacked with small arms fire and two suicide attackers on foot. Fallujah Police and Coalition Forces spotted three enemy fighters approaching and fired, causing the two suicide bombers to detonate outside the compound and killing the third gunmen.
Fifteen Iraqi soldiers, police and U.S. advisers stationed at the government center were injured in the blast, while "numerous Iraqi Soldiers and Policemen are being treated for symptoms such as labored breathing, nausea, skin irritation and vomiting that are synonymous with chlorine inhalation."
This is the sixth successful chlorine gas suicide attack in Anbar province this year. Two other trucks laden with explosives and chlorine gas were seized in Ramadi, one just last evening. It is possible last evening's captured chlorine bomb was to be used in a coordinated attack, as al Qaeda conducted a near simultaneous chlorine attack in Ramadi, Fallujah and Amiriya on March 17.
Al Qaeda is conducting a major offensive in Anbar province in an attempt to destroy the increasingly powerful and popular Anbar Salvation Council. Recently, the Anbar Salvation Council established itself in Fallujah. "Today's attack coincided with yesterday's appointment by the
Fallujah City Council of a new mayor, Saad Awad Rahid Al-Dulaimi," Major Jeffery Pool, the Public Affairs Director for Multinational Forces West informed us via email. "A Fallujah social studies teacher was elected in a democratic vote of 11 to 15."
Al Qaeda is also seeking to break the will of the security forces. The Fallujah government center houses the Fallujah Police, which have been the target of a concerted terror campaign. The Army, police and the Anbar Salvation Council are coordinating activities against al Qaeda, and this cooperation is something the terror group seeks to stop.