Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Troops in Iraq Discover Newly Made Iranian Munitions

Dispatches from the Front

Dispatches from the Front:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2009 -- American and Iraqi forces have discovered Iranian weapons in Iraq that were manufactured as recently as last year, a U.S. military official said today.

The yield of Iranian-made weapons consisted of hundreds of rockets and makeshift bombs, Army Col. Philip Battaglia, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team said in a Baghdad news conference.

“We have found many Iranian-made munitions with a manufacture date as late as 2008,” Battaglia said, referring to weapons discovered since June.

The seized weapons include hundreds of 107 mm and 122 mm rockets, and about 500 deadly bombs that military officials call “explosively formed penetrators” because they’re designed to pierce armor in various stages of construction, he said.

The colonel’s area of operations, known as Multinational Division Center, covers the Iraqi provinces of Dhi Qar, Muthanna and Maysan, the latter of which borders Iran.

“We have never captured any munitions being smuggled across the border, but the border is very open,” he said. “There is movement across quite freely.”

Battaglia said smuggled weapons were identified by their “apparent Iranian marking with a date of manufacture from 2008.”

As a matter of procedure, troops hand the weapons over to Iraqi security forces for disposal, while others are sent for further analysis, he said.

(Report by John J. Kruzel, American Forces Press Service.)

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