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Insurgents Target Iraqi Progress

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2005 – Insurgents in Iraq attack any sign of progress because "progress is their enemy," DoD officials said today.

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Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said today the insurgents in Iraq have something " much bleaker and much darker' than the country's democratic future in mind. Photo by Helene C. Stikkel

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Officials spoke about terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's claim to have kidnapped Ihab al-Sherif, the chief of Egypt's mission in Iraq. "If it is true that al Qaeda has snatched this diplomat, I think it suggests ... that al Qaeda has targeted those countries that are trying to cooperate in the success of Iraq's emerging democracy," Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said during a press conference today.

A group calling itself the Foundation for Holy War in Mesopotamia took credit for the kidnapping via an Internet posting. U.S. officials could not authenticate the claim. The terrorists claim to be affiliated with Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq group.

Officials in Baghdad said that insurgents attack any sign of progress the Iraqi government makes. "It's an insurgency that does not have Iraq's democratic future in mind," Di Rita said. "It has something much bleaker and much darker (in mind)."

In addition to the kidnapping, insurgents reportedly attacked diplomats from Bahrain and Pakistan in Baghdad today. The insurgents see the presence of Middle Eastern diplomats as progress for the Iraqi government, said an official in Baghdad.

That official said it is an unfortunately familiar process. If the Iraqis make progress on electricity, the insurgents dynamite power pylons or electrical sub-stations. If the Iraqis make progress on forming local governments, the insurgents target those supporting the effort.

If Iraqis choose to enlist in the military or join the Iraqi police services in hopes of establishing a safe and stable environment, the insurgents target them.

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