Suicide attacks by foreigners terrorize Syria, Iraq

Suicide attacks by foreigners terrorize Syria, Iraq
Sat May 3, 2014 12:02:51

The suicide-bomb attacks in Syria and Iraq appear to be part of a resurgence of such terrorist attacks that represented a disturbing shift in tactics among extremist insugents active in both Arab nations.

Abdul-Waheed Majeed, a 41-year-old British truck driver, blew himself up in an attack on a Syrian prison on February 6, 2014.

“I’m sorry, I can’t speak it,” he said in a video. “My tongue bro’ ... it’s got like a knot in it,” the Pakistani-born Majeed said in Arabic before blowing himself up.

According to a Friday article by Reuters, many of terror acts have been carried out by foreigners drawn to the conflicts from across the region and from Europe, security and intelligence officials say. The security officials estimated that several thousand foreign extremists are active in the two countries.

Most are with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an ultra-radical terrorist group reconstituted from an earlier incarnation of al-Qaeda and is active in Syria and Iraq and with al-Nusra Front, another al-Qaeda affiliate which is one of the most notorious terrorist forces in Syria.

In the past year the rate of suicide bomb attacks in Iraq has climbed sharply, back to levels not seen since 2007, US officials said.

The officials said they did not have precise data on the number of foreign fighters involved in the violence. But in March and April alone, at least 14 Tunisians fighting with ISIL blew themselves up at various locations in Iraq, according to postings on social media sites affiliated with ISIL, which US and European authorities monitor.

That is about half of the total number of foreign suicide bombers identified with ISIL on social media who blew themselves up during the two-month period, said an analyst.

Other suicide bombers in Iraq in March and April included terrorists from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, one of the group’s most lethal wings based mostly in Yemen.

Many of them appeared to be Saudis, Libyans, Egyptians, Moroccans and Jordanians. A Danish citizen and a Tajik have also blown themselves up.

During the 2006-07 war in Iraq, when the use of suicide bombings were rampant, foreigners made up the largest proportion of the militants carrying them out.

In Syria, the conflict took on a regional dimension and attracted foreign militants soon after it began with an outbreak of unrest in 2011.


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