News

Iranian 'Shape Charges' Discovered in Iraq

U.S. and other coalition officials in Iraq are voicing concern about the recent discoveries of highly-sophisticated and lethal roadside bombs being smuggled into the country from Iran.

Speculation about whether insurgents in Iraq were now using so-called "shape charges" as roadside bombs, reached new heights after Wednesday's deadly attack against a U.S. Marine vehicle in the western town of Haditha.

Fourteen Marines were killed after their amphibious assault carrier hit a bomb so powerful, it flipped the 27 metric ton vehicle into the air.

On Thursday, the top spokesman for Iraq's multi-national forces, U.S. Brigadier General Donald Alston, told reporters that he did not know what type of bomb was used against the Marines.

VOA has now learned that the improvised explosive device used in Wednesday's attack was not a shape charge, but an ordinary, albeit a very large, bomb.

A senior coalition military official in Baghdad, who spoke to VOA on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive intelligence involved, says as devastating as the bombing was in Haditha, shape charges are far more worrying to U.S. troops because they are not just designed to destroy vehicles, but to penetrate armor.

A shape charge combines an explosive charge with metal. The explosive is shaped to concentrate the blast, which then turns the metal into a high speed slug that can rip through the heaviest steel doors.

Military commanders say this technical expertise was not seen in Iraq when the insurgency began two years ago. But they confirm that shape charges have been used in attacks in the past several months, killing and wounding several U.S. troops.

There is also evidence that these more sophisticated devices are flowing freely into Iraq across its porous with Iran.

Details are still vague, but the senior coalition official tells VOA that Iraqi border guards there have recently intercepted several shipments, which have included fully manufactured shape charges as well as components for making them.

The latest discovery occurred on July 20th. The senior official says that shipment contained four devices, which, like the other shape charges seen in Iraq, closely match those used by the Iranian-backed Shi'ite Hezbollah group in the 1980s in its war to drive Israel out of southern Lebanon.

The coalition official here says there is no evidence to suggest that the government in Tehran is facilitating the smuggling of shape charges into Iraq. But U.S. officials say they believe the shipments may have been sent with the backing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Military intelligence officials say what may be happening is that the technology for making shape charges is spreading among a variety of Iraqi insurgent groups. Coalition forces know of at least one insurgent cell in Baghdad, which has been attempting to make shape charges locally.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs