Saturday, July 28, 2007

Report: Insurgent use of fertilizer bombs, deep-buried explosives increasing

Above: Soldiers move past the crater left by a deep-buried explosive while on patrol in Adwaniya.

Insurgents in Iraq have begun using a lethal combination of homemade explosives and large buried bombs that have resulted in a series of catastrophic attacks against U.S. troops.

U.S. military officials say that in recent months they’ve seen a rise in the insurgents’ use of “HME,” or homemade explosives, made from fertilizer and other commercially available items. U.S. troops are also encountering more “deep-buried” bombs than at any other time in the past four years.

It’s unclear if there is a direct correlation between the increased use of homemade and deep-buried bombs. Military officers who specialize in tracking bombs say that in 30 percent to 40 percent of all blasts in Iraq, the composition of the explosive mix and their method of ignition remain unknown.

Both homemade and deep-buried bombs appear to be used almost exclusively by Sunni insurgents. Shiite extremists specialize in the use of the “explosively formed projectile,” or EFP, which U.S. commanders in Iraq say are being supplied by elements of Iran’s hard-line regime.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes