American military spokesmen told reporters in Baghdad today that a facility for manufacturing bombs from Iranian components has been discovered north of Baghdad:
U.S. officers said Monday they had discovered a factory for assembling sophisticated roadside bombs from Iranian-made components _ the first such facility uncovered in a religiously mixed province north of Baghdad.
The officers, who displayed weapons for reporters at a U.S. base in the capital, said the find provides more evidence that the Iranians are providing weapons used to kill Americans. They include EFPs _ explosively formed projectiles _ that fire a slug of molten metal capable of penetrating armored vehicles and have been blamed for killing more than 170 U.S. and coalition soldiers since 2004.
The display was the latest in a series presented by the U.S. military to bolster its allegation that Iranian weapons are being supplied to Shiite militias. ***
Among the parts found during a raid Saturday after a tip from an Iraqi informant were 120 mm mortars and 122 mm rockets that the military said were made in Iran. Markings indicated they were made after the U.S.-led invasion nearly four years ago, which would rule out that they were leftovers from the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war.
The cache also included artillery, anti-personnel mines, as well as more than 150 metal discs, detonation cords, electronic triggering mechanisms and C-4 plastic explosives _ all laid out in piles for a press conference at the main U.S. military base on the western edge of Baghdad. The military said some smaller munitions had been destroyed at the site.
I take it that this discovery is significant, in part, because it indicates that in addition to Iran supplying insurgents with finished explosive devices, parts for such devices are also being smuggled into Iraq and assembled there.
Also, CNN says that military authorities have confirmed that they are holding a top Quds general who was reported to have been apprehended in Iraq last December:
U.S. troops in Iraq are holding a top leader of an Iranian special forces group believed to be supplying weapons to insurgents who are targeting and killing U.S. forces in Iraq, U.S. officials said Monday.
Brig. Gen. Mohsen Chirazi, said to be the third-ranking officer in the Iranian Quds Force, was arrested in late December during a raid at the home of a man connected to the leader of the top Shiite party in Iraq with deep ties to the Iranian government, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, according to U.S. officials.
This, I suppose, is why President Bush has said that we know with certainty that Quds officers from Iran have been aiding the Iraqi insurgents.
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