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Mosul Attack Was a Suicide Bombing

Not that it makes a big difference, but the whole mini-controversy about the fact that the mess hall was in a tent is now moot.

Dec. 22, 2004 (ABC News) - New evidence shows the bombing of a U.S. military mess tent in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday - which killed 22 people and wounded 70 other - was a suicide attack, ABC News has learned.

Investigators at the base have found remnants of a torso and a suicide vest that was probably a backpack, sources told ABC News, indicating that the attack was a suicide bombing.

A radical Sunni Muslim group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, has claimed responsibility for the attack.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Mosul Attack Was a Suicide Bombing:

» The Jawa Report linked with Army of al Sunnahís Communique

» In the Bullpen linked with Army of al Sunnahís Communique

» Murdoc Online linked with Just like the Minutemen, right?

Comments (16)

That seems unlikely. How d... (Below threshold)

That seems unlikely. How does a suicide bomber strapped with explosives get into the middle of a mess tent? Other reports identify mortars or rockets.

I think this will be discredited shortly.

Also, the blast pattern doe... (Below threshold)

Also, the blast pattern does not seem to fit what one would expect to see from a person-borne explosive device detonating at ground level. The damage to the roof should be more scattered from shrapnel spraying outward and less centered upward, unless the bomb was on the guy's head. It looks more what one would expect to see from a rocket or mortar detonating on the roof.

It could have been a suicid... (Below threshold)

It could have been a suicide bomber. A regular employee walks in with a backpack virtually unnoticed because he works there. Ball bearings are all over the place. The shrapnel is not that of a rocket.

Could it have been both? A ... (Below threshold)

Could it have been both? A few mortars lobbed in with the suicide bomber providing ranging information from inside?

>>>A regular employee walks... (Below threshold)

>>>A regular employee walks in with a backpack virtually unnoticed because he works there.

Nope. I could be wrong, but I think that's generally against the rules. Check Armor Geddon - he has a post noting a sign at their mess hall- NO BACKPACKS or any bags in the mess tent, probably for this very reason.

Also, unless this guy is lying about being an eyewitness, there were several mortars.


- One possibility is for so... (Below threshold)

- One possibility is for someone to have lobbed a satchel charge up on top of the mess tent. The Arab web site is profiling the suicide bomber they claim was the perp....

- As far as security, that base is totally locked down.... personal inspections.... tight .... So if it was something like that it had to be an inside job.

- The web site profile says he was an employee at the base for two months. FBI is already at the site. They've already confirmed the suspected bomber was in fact an employee and most probably hide plastic' inside his clothes....

Do you have a picture of th... (Below threshold)

Do you have a picture of those ball bearings? I agree that would tend to indicate a suicide bomber, but I couldn't find any in the pictures.

Given that no eyewitness accounts support the suicide bomber theory, I think that's is more a case of the media believing what it wants to believe. They love a good terrorist story.

Oh well, the truth will probably be known for sure eventually.

I don't know why there is e... (Below threshold)
Pat Adkins:

I don't know why there is even a controversy over tent vs. building, except to further bash Rumsfeld. I was at a base camp in Bosnia that had been established three years before I got there, and the DFAC (mess hall) was still in a tent. As a matter of fact, most of us still slept in tents. I believe Cohen was SecDef then, and Clinton was President.

Given the fluid situation in Iraq, it doesn't make sense to build structures when you're not even sure if the base camp will stay there.

If it was a suicide bomber, someone failed at the gate to conduct a proper search. All the local nationals that worked at my base camp were searched upon entering and leaving the camp. They could not even take a candy bar in or out. Of course, some reporters in their zeal to create headlines, could have assisted with contraband.

Sec. Rumsfeld and Chairman ... (Below threshold)

Sec. Rumsfeld and Chairman of the JCS have just completed a press conference, shown in full on Fox. Another announcement is expected in an hour, with more detailed findings on whether it was a suicide bomber.

In reading the chaplain lin... (Below threshold)

In reading the chaplain link, it seems there were mortar rounds on the Combat Surgical Hospital, after the initial event at the mess tent.

I'm going to go out on a li... (Below threshold)

I'm going to go out on a limb and make some cynical predictions:

1) They will initially find it to be a suicide bombing, because that's what everyone wants it to be. The terrorists want credit, the journalists want a terrorism story, and the military brass wants this as evidence Iraq is part of the GWOT.

2) Many months or years later, forensic pathologists will determine it was actually a mortar explosion, based on the prevalence of head and neck injuries, the dispersion of the shrapnel, and other details.

I just have to say somethin... (Below threshold)

I just have to say something here. First, the matter of the "tent." It's really not like a tent, per se and it's set up so the soldiers, the Iraqi's who work there and everyone else on base, can get out of the elements. Like being airconditioned in the summer, heated in the winter and it's fairly solid, Kevin. Their computer stations are also in one of these so called tents. If you look at the pictures, if it was a tent like how we think of tents, the whole thing would have fallen down. Basically it's not a real tent. They call it the "chow hall."

As to how someone did this, if anyone has ever read CB's 'MY WAR' blog among other milblogs, Iraqi's are there as drivers, as translators, and other things. Any one of them could have either been a part of a terrorist group who made himself at home there, or more likely, an Iraqi who's family was being held hostage or compromised in some way. And remember too, this terrorist group is responsible for many atrocities and has ties to Al Zawari - the most wanted man in Iraq right now; they study, they learn, they figure out the best way to make for the maximum damage, whether by IED brought in by a familiar Iraqi worker plus after being cleared out of Falluja, they're heading north and as they head north Mosul is going to be hit more and more until they finally get pushed back into the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Most of the soldiers based at this FOB are from Fort Lewis, Washington - the stryker unit. They have a hospital, airport, everything anybody could possibly want - even gyms to work out in.

If it indeed was one of the Iraqi drivers or translators or workers, the soldiers, the Global Security Contractors and others, did not stand out of place there; he was one of the regulars.

If it indeed was a major morter or rocket attack that this base gets all the time, it sure hit the wrong place at the wrong time. Check out NEIN and you'll see what I've been saying all along. It's easy to get into this base. As a stryker leaves for an op, as in one of CBFTW's stories, a Global Security auto all shot up (under Men in Black) came blasting through rushing to the hospital. It's a huge base with many battalions there. That is a lot of troops and those soldiers who write milblogs may never run into one another, that's how many people are stationed there.

Mosul is now the new hot bed, along with Baghdad since Falluja is fairly clear and those who lived there will be coming back soon. Every soldier will tell you that they told all the residents there to get out and gave them plenty of time to get out, so the only people left there had to be a terrorist. The same will happen in Mosul where until recently was fairly quiet.

The worst part of this is not just the loss of death and all those injuries and my heart goes out to each and every one of them and their families but also there is no way to know if any of the soldiers of the milblogs were killed or hurt. Hopefully this will not happen again, so pray for these people and their families and support our troops no matter how you feel about the war.


Maybe there was a suicide b... (Below threshold)

Maybe there was a suicide bomber in the mess hall, and maybe, poor thing, he was killed by mortar fire before he could detonate himself and go to his reward.

If this attack was carried ... (Below threshold)

If this attack was carried out my a suicide bomber the fact of the mess hall being a tent may have saved lives. Much like a later post here discussing the relative merits of increasing armor, Israeli counter-terrorism has had to strike a balance vis a vis making a public bus a harder target against bombs. An armored bus is better as defending passages against an attack from outside the vehicle but is much worse for occupants if a bomb is detonated inside as the effects of blast are magnified in enclosed spaces. This is not to say army mess halls should not be made hard targets. It is to say that, with so much else, a combination of tactics has to be adopted in the knowledge that whatever choice is made the adversary can alter tactics in response.

God, I hate being right.</p... (Below threshold)

God, I hate being right.

Don't know if anyone still ... (Below threshold)

Don't know if anyone still reads this or not, but I was in the chow hall that day. My commander was killed, and several of my friends had ball bearings imbedded in their skin, and the bearings still have not been taken out yet. I carried out the wounded, and saw the blast with my own eyes. I have been mortared here (and rocketed) in Iraq countless times, and not even a 120mm mortar, or a rocket does as much damage as I saw that day. The fireball was larger than any mortar or rocket could do. It was a suicide bomber, and whereas he would have been searched a few months ago, on Dec21st, we weren't searching people on their way in.






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