Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Who is Behind the "Suicide" Car Bombings in Iraq?

This remarkable yet little known CNN report from January 2007 raises questions about who is really responsible for the car bombings that have been taking place in Iraq. It suggests that some of the supposed "suicide" bombers may in fact be unwilling victims, who have their hands tied to their steering wheels and their cars detonated by remote control. The critical question is who is really carrying out these attacks? Is it "al Qaeda in Iraq"? Or could the real perpetrators be the British or American military?

Here's the transcript:

Unwilling Bomber

Aired January 18, 2007 - 10:00 ET

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice over): Forty-two-year-old Kamal (ph) al-Khaqani was happily married with four children, trying like most here to avoid the violence. To just get through each day alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, (through translator): We have nothing to do with politics or anything else.

DAMON: Then one day, like a thousand others, Kamal left to run errands and pick up breakfast for the family. "He got dressed at 7:00 and told me he would come back at 9:00," his mother says. "It was 10:00, 11:00," his wife says. "At 11:00, I started to feel nervous. They kept comforting me. At 2:00, I was pacing back and forth." At that point, Halud (ph) knew deep down that her husband of 12 years would not be coming back.

ADEL AL-KHAQANI, VICTIM'S BROTHER, (through translator): The next day someone came by and said a car similar to your brothers is in Alhadra (ph) neighborhood that it has been blown up.

DAMON: Kamal's final moment, pieced together by officers at the scene.

AL-KHAQANI: He told me, it looks like your poor brother was kidnapped.

DAMON: Kamal was released and set off in his own car. Police say he was probably told to drive toward their checkpoint. But they say he must have realized that his vehicle was rigged with explosives and that he was about to become an unwilling bomber.

It's a trend Iraqi and U.S. officials have been warning since July. They believe a number of suicide bombers are actually kidnapped civilians who's cars have been turned into bombs set off by remote control.

Some of the clues, hands tied to steering wheels. And families. Kamal's, who assist the driver was a victim, too, not an insurgent. And in Kamal's case, eyewitness evidence. He tried desperately to warn the people around him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said he was screaming the whole time, I am booby-trapped. I am booby-trapped.

AL-KHAQANI: He didn't finish his words before the car blew up. We showed him his pictures and he said, yes, that's him.

DAMON: The explosion wounded one policeman. Kamal's shouted warnings may well have saved lives.

"Kamal is gone," his mother cries. "When my sons sit around, Kamal is not there. His absence has tortured me." "It's difficult," his wife says. "How are we going to live? Only God's mercy can keep us going. It's tough. We are four."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time his little son starts to cry, I break down in tears.

DAMON: Eleven-year-old Zarat (ph) can't even speak. The youngest, one year old Sashad (ph), still runs around saying, daddy, too young to realize that daddy is never coming home.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


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