Al Qaeda Link to Attacks in Iraq

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by I Am Blessed 24, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    LONDON (Reuters) - Members of groups linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network may have taken part in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, a British diplomatic source said on Friday.

    The source said that while the attacks were largely the work of Iraqis loyal to deposed dictator Saddam Hussein "there is some evidence that they've been joined by groups that are loosely connected with the al Qaeda network."

    The source, who asked not to be named, did not specify the evidence, but said there were undoubtedly "some foreign elements" targeting U.S. and allied troops in Iraq. He said there was nothing to show that Saddam, who is thought to be in hiding, or his two sons, killed by American troops last week, had been directly organizing the attacks.

    "I haven't seen any signs that Saddam Hussein or his sons were responsible for orchestrating that activity," he said.

    The United States has accused die-hard Saddam loyalists and some foreign fighters, possibly including al Qaeda operatives, of waging a guerrilla campaign that has killed 52 U.S. troops since Washington declared major combat over on May 1.

    Nineteen of those soldiers have been killed in the last two weeks and the U.S. army says the guerrillas are becoming more sophisticated and more deadly.

    In the latest attack, a U.S. soldier was killed and three were wounded on Thursday when their armored personnel carrier hit a land mine on the road to the U.S. base at Baghdad airport.

    The British source acknowledged that the U.S.-led occupying forces in Iraq had failed to react quickly enough to the volatile security situation after the war.

    "We had a hesitant start," he said. "We did not hit the ground running as we should have done."

    He said, however, that the Americans and British had made up lost ground and were now on track to oversee a successful transition to peaceful, democratic rule in Iraq. Washington says it will end the occupation as soon as an elected Iraqi government is in place.

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