Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Perspective: Insurgents aim for wider-scale attacks, may mass-produce EFPs

BAGHDAD — Troops from Maj. Jeremy Siegrist's battalion were following up a tip recently when they came across something odd: two restaurant-sized freezers sitting in the middle of a palm grove.

The freezers' contents were even more surprising. Inside, the troops found 150 copper plates, C-4 plastic explosive and plastic tube sections — key ingredients in making the deadly, armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs.

The amount of Iran-made material suggested Iraqi militants have learned how to mass-produce EFPs, rather than only import them pre-made from Iran, Siegrist said Monday. "It's a huge step" for the militants, he said.

The increased use of EFPs, which can shoot molten metal through tanks and cause heavier casualties than normal bombs, may be part of a broader tactical shift by Iraqi insurgents, U.S. military officials and analysts say. Since an increase in U.S. troops patrolling Baghdad under President Bush's new security plan, extremists have launched fewer but deadlier attacks to kill Americans and terrify the Iraqi population.

Read the rest at USA Today