Abu Ghraib Attacks Show Terrorists Still Deadly, Bush Says
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2005 Two separate attacks on Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison complex in recent days are a sign that the al Qaeda terrorist group still is deadly, President Bush said at the White House today.
The attacks, which press reports indicate al Qaeda has claimed credit for mounting, are a sign that "that these people will kill. They kill innocent life. Their strategy hasn't really changed," Bush said in remarks following the second Cabinet meeting of his second term. "Their strategy has been one to kill as many innocent people as they possibly can, in the hopes that it shakes our confidence and shakes our will."
An evening raid by 40 to 50 armed assailants April 2 wounded up to 44 American soldiers and 13 detainees. A second attack by a suicide bomber driving a tractor April 4 reportedly killed five civilians.
"We're after them," Bush said of terrorists in Iraq. "And equally importantly," he added, "the Iraqi citizens are after them now.
"More and more citizens understand that these terrorists, like al Qaeda and (Jordanian terrorist network leader Abu Musab al-) Zarqawi, don't have their interests at heart," the president said. "They don't believe in democracy, these killers. They believe in a society in which people aren't going to be free to practice their religion or free to speak in the public square."
He said the American people should "take heart" to know that Iraqis are now allies in defeating the terrorists in their country.
Bush said Iraqis taking to the polls in Jan. 30 national elections is proof that "the Iraqi citizens took toward complete defiance of the point of view of Zarqawi, who is an al Qaeda type."