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US Says Documents Show Plot to Stir Up Violence in Iraq - 2004-02-10


American officials in Iraq have obtained documents they say outline plans by foreign elements to bring about sectarian violence in the country. The news comes amid new violence in the capital and more U.S. casualties in other parts of the country.

The U.S.-led coalition says it is studying the documents that were found on a computer CD in the possession of an Iraqi courier working with the ongoing insurgency. A coalition spokesman said the document was written by Jordanian-born militant, Abu Musab Zarqawi who is wanted by U.S. authorities for ties to al-Qaida.

"It seems that the primary focus as outlined in this document is to provoke sectarian warfare in an effort to tear apart the country, target Shia leaders and Shia holy sites and Shia religious individuals in the hope that they will extract revenge against Sunnis and then after that to engage the Kurds," said Dan Senor, coalition spokesman in Baghdad. "Pit one Iraqi against another and hope that the whole net result will be bloodshed and a torn apart Iraq."

Tension is already high among Iraq's ethnic and religious groups, complicating U.S. plans to hand over power to an Iraqi government by the end of June.

The Jordanian suspect is said to be an associate of Osama bin Laden, and American officials say he is working with Ansar al Islam, a militant Iraqi group with ties to the terror network, al-Qaida. The seized document refers to 25 attacks the group has carried out in Iraq over the last year.

Iraq's porous borders make it easy for any foreign elements to enter the country and the U.S. has long maintained that they have been behind attacks against its soldiers and civilian targets.

Meanwhile, in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul two American soldiers were killed and five others injured in a explosion Sunday. A U.S. army statement said they were transporting weapons and ammunition for disposal when it detonated.

In the early morning hours of Monday two Iraqi policemen were killed while on their way to work. Witnesses said they were in their car when another vehicle pulled alongside and a number of gunmen opened fire killing the two officers.