DEBKAfile Intelligence - First Iraqi Suicide Car Bombing Kills 5 US Soldiers

28 March 2003

First Iraqi suicide car bombing in war is reported to have killed 5 US soldiers at Highway 9 checkpoint north of Najaf. Soldiers of 3rd Infantry’s 1st Brigade were checking taxi when it blew up. DEBKAfile military sources: Iraqi Saddam’s Fedayeen are trained in suicide-terror tactics.

Coalition command orders 4-6 day pause in ground advance on Baghdad to improve supply lines stretching to Kuwait – especially of fuel and food

DEBKAfile’s military sources report missile that struck deserted Kuwait City shopping mall Friday night was sea-to-sea Chinese-made Silkworm of 80km effective range indicating some Iraqi military presence remains in Faw Peninsula after its capture

Allied air strikes continue into Saturday morning, heaviest over Baghdad - where information ministry damaged – also Basra and battle sector near Karbala, 50 miles southwest of Baghdad, where US101st Airborne Division armed with helicopter gunships destroys elite Iraqi Hamourabi Division’s tanks in second day of assault. In Basra, 200 Iraqi militias killed in air attack.

Hijacker of Turkish airliner diverted to Athens Airport Friday overnight surrenders to Greek authorities, releasing 203 passengers and air crew.

Iraq claims more than 50 killed by coalition missile dropping on Baghdad’s Shula district Friday.

Israel elevates first-aid Magen David alert for possible chemical attack

US defense secretary warns Syrian action in sending military equipment to Iraq is seen as hostile act and Syria may be viewed as combatant. Rumsfeld also warns Iran against interfering in war in Iraq

DEBKAfile reports from US intelligence sources that Iraq has moved chemical and biological weapons to within missile-striking distance of Israel in western Iraq despite US-UK presence in region. Some of the WMD was taken out of hiding-places in Syria

Thursday several hundred Lebanese Hizballah headed across Syrian-Iraqi border to join Syrian-sponsored Palestinian volunteer movement for Saddam’s army

Assad to Saddam’s Rescue

DEBKA-Net-Weekly 103 reported exclusively that, In two covert operations this week, US special forces blew up the Iraqi-Syrian pipeline carrying illegal Iraq oil exports from Mosul and Kirkuk to the Syrian Mediterranean oil terminal on the Banias for sale overseas, as well as the Syrian-Iraq railroad that was Saddam’s only route for importing war supplies.

Nevertheless, US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld found it necessary to issue a grave warning to Damascus on Friday, March 28. He said shipping war material and equipment from Syria to Iraq is seen as a hostile action and that of a combatant. He also cautioned Iran not to interfere in the Iraq war.

Earlier DEBKAfile reported that Syria was sponsoring a movement of Palestinian and other volunteers to fight with Saddam Hussein. Thursday, several hundred Lebanese Hizballah extremists traveled in convoy from Syria to Baghdad to join up with Iraqi forces. Last week, a US F-15 warplane fired a missile against a civilian bus near the Syrian-Iraqi border, killing five, whom our sources revealed were part of a group of Palestinian volunteers for Iraq. But unheeding of the missile warning, Syria continued the traffic.

Friday, Rumsfeld put both Damascus and Tehran on notice: Continued shipments of war material, equipment and combat personnel into Iraq – including the pro-Iranian Hizballah – would lay both nations open to United States counter-action. The defense secretary made no mention of the Palestinians heading for Baghdad but, according to DEBKAfile’s sources, an American attack on Palestinian concentrations in south and north Lebanon cannot be ruled out. Both locations are recruiting centers for Palestinian volunteers who set out armed with weapons handed out by various bodies including al Qaeda agents.

Washington has been keeping a close satellite and air surveillance watch on Syria’s all-inclusive smuggling service as President Bashar Assad’s contribution to Saddam Hussein’s war effort.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly 103 added that, since the pipeline and railroad were blown up, the Syrian ruler has kept the supply routes running with the help of giant tanker trucks prepared in advance. War equipment in quantity and components for systems including night vision instruments and other vital commodities are being delivered at Syrian ports as per orders from Baghdad and pouring into Iraq aboard a fleet of trucks and other vehicles impounded by Syrian troops.