On Wednesday, I talked briefly about how Iraqi insurgents' are increasingly using armor-piercing "explosively formed projectiles" to form the deadly hearts of their improvised bombs.Today, the Times is reporting that "many of the new, more sophisticated roadside bombs... have been designed in Iran."
The spread of the new weapons seems to suggest a new and unusual area of cooperation between Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunnis to drive American forces out - a possibility that the commanders said they could make little sense of given the increasing violence between the sects in Iraq.Unlike the improvised explosive devices devised from Iraq's vast stockpiles of missiles, artillery shells and other arms, the new weapons are specially designed to destroy armored vehicles, military bomb experts say. The bombs feature shaped charges, which penetrate armor by focusing explosive power in a single direction and by firing a metal projectile embedded in the device into the target at high speed. The design is crude but effective if the vehicle's armor plating is struck at the correct angle, the experts said.Since they first began appearing about two months ago, some of these devices have been seized, including one large shipment that was captured last week in northeast Iraq coming from Iran...Pentagon and intelligence officials say that some shipments of the new explosives have contained both components and fully manufactured devices, and may have been spirited into Iraq along the porous Iranian border by the Iranian-backed, anti-Israeli terrorist group Hezbollah, or by Iran's Revolutionary Guard. American commanders say these bombs closely matched those that Hezbollah has used against Israel."The devices we're seeing now have been machined," said a military official who has access to classified reporting on the insurgents' bomb-making abilities. "There is evidence of some sophistication."