full of propane tanks and ordinary chemicals the military believes were to
be used in bombs, a spokesman said Thursday, a day after insurgents blew up
a truck carrying chlorine gas canisters.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the chlorine attack Wednesday — the second
such "dirty" chemical attack in two days — signaled a change in insurgent
tactics, and the military was fighting back with targeted raids.
"What we are seeing is a change in the tactics, but their strategy has not
changed. And that's to create high-profile attacks to instill fear and
division amongst the Iraqi people," he told CNN. "It's a real crude attempt
to raise the terror level by taking and mixing ordinary chemicals with
explosive devices, trying to instill that fear within the Iraqi people."
But he suggested the strategy was backfiring by turning public opinion
against the insurgents, saying the number of tips provided by Iraqis had
doubled in the last six months.
One of those tips led U.S. troops to a five separate buildings near
Fallujah, where they found the munitions containing chemicals, three vehicle
bombs being assembled, including a truck bomb, about 65 propane tanks and
"all kinds of ordinary chemicals," Caldwell said. He added that he believed
the insurgents were going to try to mix the chemicals with explosives.
The pickup truck carrying chlorine gas cylinders was blown up Wednesday,
killing at least five people and sending more than 55 to hospitals gasping
for breath and rubbing stinging eyes.
On Tuesday, a bomb planted on a chlorine tanker left more than 150 villagers
stricken north of the capital. More than 60 were still under medical care on
Wednesday. Chlorine causes respiratory trouble and skin irritation in low
levels and possible death with heavy exposure.
Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, an Iraqi military spokesman, said the
investigation into the attack was still under way.
"But what is obvious to us that the terrorists are adopting new tactics to
cause panic and as many casualties as they can among civilians. But our
plans also are always changeable and flexible to face the enemy's new