Monday, April 16, 2007

Perspective: Soldiers find themselves moving targets on 'Route Predators'

Remains are removed after a roadside bomb explosion on Highway 5 in 2005.

BAGHDAD — It’s a ragged stretch of road soldiers call Route Predators, and for those who drive it on a regular basis, this New Baghdad boulevard is three miles of gut-clenching dread.

Littered with mountains of rusting scrap metal, rubber tires and shabby, cinder-block buildings, this section of Iraq’s Highway 5 carries the dubious reputation of being the most EFP-laden path in east Baghdad, if not all of Iraq.

EFPs, or explosively formed projectiles, are a particularly deadly brand of armor-piercing roadside bomb used by Shiite militias like the Madhi Army. The explosives, which U.S. commanders say are manufactured in Iran and smuggled into Iraq, are the size and shape of coffee cans but can destroy Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles in a single, ear-splitting blast.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes