U.S. warns of suicide attacks in Baghdad "in the near future"
The U.S. military says "numerous terrorists" have entered the Baghdad area
Iraqis being warned to be vigilant for signs of terrorist activity
Al Qaeda in Iraq targeting former allies such as Sons of Iraq and Awakening groups
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Al Qaeda in Iraq is planning suicide attacks against Iraqis in Baghdad "in the near future," the U.S. military warned Friday.
Information collected by coalition forces indicated that "numerous terrorists" had entered the Baghdad area to carry out attacks using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices or suicide vests, according to a statement from the Multi-National Corps-Iraq. No details were provided.
One or more of the attacks were expected to target the Karkh district of Baghdad, where a car bomb exploded in March 2005 near the Sunni mosque Ibn Tamiya. The mosque is on the dangerous road leading to the Baghdad airport. There were no reports of casualties.
Iraqis were being warned to be vigilant for signs of terrorist activity and asked to report any unusual signs through tip lines or troops in their area.
Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces were distributing pamphlets describing signs that may indicate terrorist activity.
Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta, the spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, warned listeners Friday during the main newscast on al-Iraqia state TV.
Reiterating what the U.S. military said about credible intelligence indicating that suicide, vehicle and IED attacks are being planned by "terrorist groups," Atta asked people to be cautious and wary.
He asked them to call the Iraqi Security Forces and the hot lines for the ministries of Defense and Interior and the Baghdad security plan hot lines to report anything suspicious.
Indications of a possible suicide-vest attack include people displaying abnormal behavior such as an agitated demeanor and wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather.
Signs of a possible vehicle-borne improvised explosive attack are unfamiliar vehicles driving repeatedly around crowded areas, people taking videos or photos of these areas, cars without license plates or multiple fuel cans in the seat or trunk of a vehicle. Attackers also might use a stolen ambulance.
The Multi-National Corps-Iraq statement said that historically, al Qaeda in Iraq attacked large gatherings of people: funerals, markets and checkpoints.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 4:56 PM