In Pictures: Anatomy of an IED


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MOSUL, IRAQ: On March 11, the 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division stopped a car in the Al Bakir neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq. After searching the car, the Iraqi Army found six improvised explosive devices (IEDs or roadside bombs). The driver has been detained and the Iraqi Army is now looking for the bomb factory. The following slideshow looks at an IED created by terrorists in Mosul.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Operations in Iraq

    Operations in Iraq

  • Teflon Don says:

    The mass-production is interesting and hardly unheard of. For the apparent quality of the detonators, I would have expected better IEDs, though.

  • Michael says:

    I can only hope these “for use against coalition forces” be turned around and shipped back against murderous thugs like Mugniya on a more routine basis.
    After all the meetings in Damascus that take place openly, without fear in the past. It would be good to see their own devices and terrorist tactics used against them again and again. The Baathist leaders never feel any pressure protected in Syria and Shia extremist in Iran are fully worshipped as heroes.
    Although, after mugniyah’s timely demise, some in Syria may be more careful now, look over their shoulders, they still live in comfortably while planning their warfare against our guys.
    And from what I read, money allocated to help disidents are being moved under State which is pulling back from once agressive operations in Iran.
    Do they know where the detonators are being manufactured? Have they tracked them back yet to origination? Syria?
    The green color is typical Hezbollah colors. Are these detonators in Afghanistan? Are they the same ones in Lebanon?
    Are there any connections? And are labs and intel putting this all together?
    Thanks Bill for the break down and slideshow. Stay safe. God Bless and protect our guys.

  • Mark Pyruz says:

    This LWJ slideshow presents better imagery of an AP IED than the new Army FM 3-21.75. Noteworthy for detail is the use of a standardized, hi-vis “attention” sticker affixed to the detonator. The shrapnel balls appear relatively large, especially in relation to the size of the device. Most of the device appears to be constructed from surplus, and the balls appear to be cast. Interesting that they would choose steel over iron. Aside from the electronics, these devices bear a striking resemblance to improvised explosives fielded by European armies on the Western front, during the early war years of World War I.

  • Teflon Don says:

    The balls do seem rather large- I also noticed that at first glance. There seems to be some research going on in insurgent circles as to what IEDs besides EFPs can penetrate armor. These IEDs could be an experiment, or they could just contain chunks of metal that were handy. Those balls look like they could have been rollers from an industrial ball mill of some sort.
    Green is the color of Islam, not just Hizbollah.
    I would think it unlikely that the detonators are foreign manufacture. I’ll defer to Bill on that, of course, but things like that tend to be made in factories somewhere in the region.
    Our intel weenies do indeed string together clues about IED manufacturers (that’s a big task for EOD techs, actually), but you’ll never read about any details (at least as long as this war lasts).

  • CM Smith says:

    Mere trivia, but one of the two rifles labeled as AK-47s is, of course, the similar appearing – but mechanically different – Czech CZ-58.

  • David m says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 03/13/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

  • Neo says:

    I see they found the remains of Archbishop Rahho. I didn’t really expect him to turn up alive. Sad. Otherwise the efforts in Mosul seem to be going well. It looks almost like Al Qaeda has split it’s force again leaving part behind to provide a token resistance in Mosul, than send the rest south into remote areas in Diyala and Salahadin provinces. From the news reports it seems there is a resurgence of activity in the vicinity of Baqubah. There still seems to be stubborn areas around Tikrit but I can’t tell from reports if the problem areas are on the east or west side of the Tigris river. The new releases are too vague on that. Are there any signs we are getting a new wave of fighters infiltrating from Syria for the spring fighting season? I’m probably getting ahead of events but I wonder if Al Qaeda will attempt to re-establish operations east of Thar Thar. There seem to be plenty of remote farms in the area and the Syrian boarder relatively close.
    In Baghdad it appears that Al Qaeda has successfully placed a new set of bombing cells. Through the winter coalition forces were having pretty good luck knocking down bombing cells. I wonder if these new cells are still associated with the activity around Baqubah in Diyala province, or if this series of cells is a separate introduction with it’s own command structure, safe houses and chains of supply. I suggested several months ago that Al Qaeda might try reconstituting their bombing operations from scratch once the old networks had been infiltrated to the point they were no longer useful. It’s something to watch for.

  • Michael says:

    Doh! As is every flag waving green.
    Thanks, just call me cousin of Homer. Good thing I don’t work at a nuclear facility.

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