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Iraqi troops kill chlorine suicide bomber

Iraqi soldiers foiled a potentially deadly suicide attack today at the border crossing at Al Qaim in western Anbar province. From Aswat al-Iraq (Voices of Iraq):

“A force from the 28th infantry division managed to defuse a car bomb and to kill its driver in al-Qaim, Anbar province,” said the statement received by Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

“The suicide driver carries the Kuwaiti nationality, and had on his possession a fake ID issued from Baiji,” the statement added.

“The car was loaded with three tons of Chlorine and C4 as well as other chemical materials,” it added.

Having closely followed Iraq over the years, I am immediately reminded of two incidents from the recent past: al Qaeda's attempt to destroy the Awakening in Anbar with a series of potentially deadly chlorine suicide attacks, and a suicide attack in Mosul by a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who had been turned over to Kuwait in late 2005 and released in mid-2006..

From February to May 2007, al Qaeda attempted 10 suicide attacks in Anbar, Baghdad, and Taji where the bombs included chlorine gas containers. US and Iraqi forces also found several chlorine bomb factories in Anbar and Baghdad and intercepted several of the bombs before they were detonated. The attempts to disperse chlorine gas in the explosion were crude; nearly all of the Iraqis were killed in the bomb blasts, but many Iraqis were severely sickened by the strikes. In Anbar, al Qaeda directed many of the chlorine gas attacks at civilian locations; their target was the Awakening, the group of tribes and former insurgents who opposed al Qaeda.

On Easter day in March 2008, Abdullah Salih al Ajmi, the former Guantanamo detainee from Kuwait, rammed a dump truck packed with more than 10,000 pounds of explosives into an Iraqi Army battalion headquarters at Combat Outpost Inman in Mosul. I was embedded with the US Army Military Transition Team responsible for the area, and was on the scene within a half hour. The destruction I saw there was the worst I've encountered while covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thirteen Iraqi soldiers were killed, and the outpost was essentially destroyed. Ajmi had been released by the US to the Kuwaiti government despite his promise to carry out attacks. To top it all off, al Qaeda used my photographs taken after the bombing in their martyrdom tape that announced Ajmi's death in the attack.