Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Just doing it quietly.
The report of arrests in connection with the Baghdad Hotel bombing was the first public announcement of detentions tied to any of the eight car bomb attacks in Iraq that have killed more than 135 people, most of them Iraqis, since early August. Six exploded in Baghdad, and an estimated 100 people were killed in late August when a car bomb detonated outside a Shiite Muslim shrine in Najaf.

A senior military intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said in an interview Friday that U.S. military forces arrested one or two suspected foreign terrorists last month who were linked to the bombings of the U.N. headquarters and the Jordanian Embassy in August. The official said the two were picked up in a raid on a house in Ramadi, west of Baghdad, during which two soldiers were killed and seven suffered minor wounds. The official did not provide any other details.

Iraqi and U.S. commanders here have blamed increasingly violent resistance activity on foreign guerrillas who have slipped through Iraq's borders undetected.

"I don't think we know the exact extent of the foreign fighters coming in," the senior official said. "What you have now is a small group -- two, three or four people. They come in privately owned vehicles and they're not coming with weapons, so it's very hard to track the numbers."

The official said the foreigners are predominantly associated with Ansar al-Islam, a Muslim guerrilla group that was driven out of northern Iraq by U.S. forces.

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