debkafile Exclusive: Al Qaeda’s dirty chlorine bomb warfare may well spread from Iraq’s Anbar across the Middle East
Iraq has seen six poison gas attacks in six weeks.
debkafile‘s military and counter-terror sources warn that al Qaeda may well expand its chemical war to other parts of the Middle East. Chlorine is readily available, used widely everywhere to purify water and in industry.
Saturday, March 17, three suicide bombers blew up their chlorine-filled tankers in three of al Qaeda’s hotbeds in the western Iraqi Anbar province: Falluja, Amiria and Ramadi. According to US figures, two Iraqi policemen were killed and 356 victims, including 6 American servicemen, taken to hospital. Unofficially, eight people died and 500 suffered toxic symptoms.
The first blast struck an American roadblock northeast of Ramadi, injuring two US soldiers. The second occurred in the early evening at Amiria, 17 km south of Falluja, killing two Iraqi policemen and causing choking symptoms in 120 local inhabitants.
Half an hour later, the third suicide truck bomber detonated his toxic cargo at Albu Issa, south of Falluja, causing the largest number of casualties – 6 dead and nearly 300 injured – some of them seriously. This blast was the biggest of the three. It used 200 gallons of chlorine gas. debkafile reports al Qaeda targeted the local Sunni Albu Issa tribe which recently agreed to work with the Baghdad government and US forces to fight al Qaeda and drive them out.
Al Qaeda’s first gas bomb attack took place on Jan. 28 in Ramadi. A number of small trucks carrying small quantities of chlorine gas were detonated simultaneously killing 16 people and putting an unknown number in hospital.
On Feb. 20, a second chemical attack was staged in Baghdad, killing 5 and poisoning 120, The next day, Feb. 21, a chlorine truck exploded in Taji north of Baghdad, killing 9 people and injuring more than 150.
That same day, coalition forces discovered and destroyed two chlorine bomb factories in Karma and Fallujah. Karma has increasingly become a hot spot in Anbar province.
That raid forced al Qaeda to take a break from its poison gas campaign in Iraq between Feb. 21 and March 17.