Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Mosul attack was suicide bomber


The US military was re-examining security measures at bases across Iraq yesterday, a day after saying an attack that killed 22 people at a camp near Mosul was likely carried out by a suicide bomber who may have had inside information.

The explosion on Monday at the tightly guarded US base raised questions about how the attacker infiltrated the compound, which is surrounded by blast walls and barbed wire and watched by US troops who search every person going in and check his identity.

However Iraqis do a variety of jobs at the base, including translation, cleaning, cooking, construction and office duties.

A spokesman for the US military command in Baghdad said yesterday security measures are subjected to changes when needed.

"It is a fluid situation where our security measures and plans are constantly being adapted and reworked," said First Sergeant Steve Valley.

The apparent sophistication of Tuesday's operation -- the deadliest single attack on a US base -- indicated the attacker probably had inside knowledge of the base's layout and the soldiers' schedule. The blast came at lunchtime.

"We always have force protection keeping their eyes out," Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hastings, spokesman for Task Force Olympia, the main force that controls northern Iraq, said yesterday. "For somebody that wants to take his life and kill himself, it's very difficult to stop those people."

Asked how will they act following the attack, Hastings said that now that the cause of the attack is known, "a full investigation is now ongoing and from that full investigation we will act according[ly]."

At the Pentagon Wednesday, General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a suicide bomber had apparently strapped an explosive device to his body and entered the dining hall where the blast occurred.

In western Baghdad, a US soldier was killed and two were wounded by a roadside bomb, the US command said. The attack occurred at 8am Thursday and the victims were members of the US Army's Task Force Baghdad, which is in charge of security in the Iraqi capital.

The death raises the number of US troops who have died since the start of the war in March last year to at least 1,322 members, according to an unofficial count by reporters.

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