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.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora