Insurgent bomb factory found in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The U.S. military warned Thursday that insurgents are adopting new tactics in a campaign to spread panic after troops uncovered a car bomb factory with propane tanks and chlorine cylinders — possible ingredients for more chemical attacks following three explosions involving chlorine.

Those blasts and a recent spate of attacks against helicopters have raised fears that insurgents are trying to develop new ways to confront U.S. and Iraqi forces. Any increase in chemical bombings could complicate the Baghdad security crackdown, now in its second week.

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the No. 2 American commander in

Iraq

, said he did not think the attacks signaled a more capable insurgency. Instead, he said they were merely an attempt to provoke fear.

“What they’re trying to do is … adapt in such ways where they can continue to create instability,” Odierno said.

The general also said at least two suspects have been arrested in the downing of eight helicopters since Jan. 20, but he gave no further details.

The raid on the car bomb factory occurred late Tuesday in the volatile western province of Anbar, U.S. authorities said. U.S. troops discovered a pickup truck and three other vehicles that were being prepared as car bombs, as well as detonation material in five buildings.

“We also found ingredients to be used to devise or enhance explosives, such as fertilizer and chlorine cylinders,” Odierno told

Pentagon

reporters by video-link.

Insurgents have detonated three trucks carrying chlorine canisters since late January. The most recent attack occurred Wednesday in Baghdad, killing five people and sending more than 55 to hospitals.

Exit Question: Will BCR weapons be part of the evolving tactics of the insurgency?

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