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Gates: Baghdad Bombings May Show Insurgents’ Desperation

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Feb. 2, 2008 – The double-suicide bombings in Baghdad on Feb. 1, carried out by two women, may indicate desperation on the part of a beleaguered insurgency, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters here.

The insurgents’ use of women to launch suicide attacks may be “a manifestation of the success of our military operations,” Gates told reporters at Fort Campbell, Ky. Feb. 1, after meeting with 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers and military spouses.

More than 70 people died and dozens were injured as the result of two suicide bombings carried out by two women in separate areas of the Iraqi capital city, according to news reports.

The actions of terrorists in employing women to conduct such horrendous attacks “is totally against the culture of the Arab world (and) is totally against Islamic faith,” Gates said. “We just have to make sure that the people of Iraq and others in the Middle East recognize how horrible these people are in terms of the culture they’re trying to attack.”

Al Qaeda’s callous disregard for human life is why Sunni residents united to eject the terrorists from Anbar province, Gates said.

As U.S. and Iraqi security forces and concerned local citizens groups continue to pressure al Qaeda and other insurgents, it is evident the terrorists are fast-losing whatever influence they’d previously possessed over the Iraqi population, he said.

Also due to the success of the surge operations, terrorists in Iraq are now having difficulty mounting vehicle-borne bomb attacks, Gates said.

Some news reports say the two women who launched today’s Baghdad suicide-bomb attacks may have been mentally challenged.

“And, the fact that they’re having to resort to using women, and possibly women who don’t know what they’re being asked to do, also may suggest that they’re having trouble getting foreign fighters to come into the country and sacrifice their lives,” Gates said.

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Robert M. Gates


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