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2/14/04 - TERRORISM IN IRAQ - 2004-02-17

On February 11th, a car bomb exploded outside a recruiting station of the new Iraqi army. Ghassam Samir, who was wounded, said, “We were standing in line waiting to start our shift in the new army and we saw a white car drive by us and then blow up.” More than forty Iraqis were murdered in the attack.

A bombing the day before, outside an Iraqi police station, killed more than fifty. Coalition authorities blame foreign terrorists linked to al-Qaida and insurgents loyal to the old Saddam Hussein regime for the attacks.

One of those wounded was Mohammed Hatem Abdullah, a taxi driver. Mr. Abdullah says that the suicide bombers in Iraq are attacking Muslims and killing innocent people. “They are killing Islam,” he says, “killing people who want to eat and are looking for jobs.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had this to say:

“It’s impossible to defend in every location against every conceivable kind of attack at any time of the day or night. Therefore, the only way it can be done is to go after the people who are doing it and find them and to capture or kill them.”

There are more than one-hundred-fifty-thousand Iraqis engaged in providing security. Many more, says Mr. Rumsfeld, are still in training:

“We keep training the Iraqis, and we keep working with them, and they’ll become more and more effective. And at that point where security responsibilities are increasingly transferred to the Iraqis, we’ll find that they will have probably better situational awareness in the areas than coalition forces ever could. They'll know the language. They know the neighborhood and they have reasons to want those areas to be secure."

Haitham Imad, an Iraqi recruit who survived the February 11th bombings, speaks for many when he says, “If the Iraqis don’t join the police and army, that means we are saying to the Americans: ‘Stay here forever.’”