Iraq Insurgents Gain Deadly New Weapon

Rocket-bomb attacks can kill dozens at a time
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2008 9:18 AM CDT
U.S. army soldiers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment search an abandoned insurgent fighting position in west Baghdad's Ghazaliyah neighborhood.   (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
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(Newser) – Shiite insurgents in Iraq have been attacking US forces with a new weapon the military fears could kill dozens of troops at a time, reports the Washington Post. Rocket-propelled bombs, made of propane tanks packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives, have killed at least 21 people this year, including three US troops—and are being used with increasing frequency.

Commanders worry that the powerful bombs will be used with devastating effect as the surge winds down and US troops move to small outposts in crowded Baghdad neighborhoods. Bases have been fortified and the military is offering rewards in the tens of thousands of dollars for information that could thwart bomb attacks.