News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIraqi troops find cache of Iranian-made rockets south of...

Iraqi troops find cache of Iranian-made rockets south of Baghdad

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AP: Iraqi soldiers uncovered a cache of Iranian-made rockets and armor-piercing roadside bombs Saturday in an apartment building occupied by Shiite militia members south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The Associated Press

BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraqi soldiers uncovered a cache of Iranian-made rockets and armor-piercing roadside bombs Saturday in an apartment building occupied by Shiite militia members south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

The cache was found in one apartment and contained 17 bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, three Iranian-made 107 mm rockets and an assortment of rifles and Iraqi security force uniforms.

Col. Dominic Caraccilo, commander of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, said the rockets were marked with manufacture dates as recent as 2007, and were believed to have been brought into the country from Iran during a buildup of U.S. troops last year.

The U.S. military accuses Iran of arming and funding Shiite extremists in Iraq, although Tehran denies the charges.

“You can’t say they were cached there for a number of years,” Caraccilo said. “They were introduced to this country at some point during the surge.”

The area around Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, has a volatile mix of Shiite and Sunni extremists and historically has been a hotbed of insurgent activity.

Caraccilo said the number of attacks on Iraqi and U.S. units, however, has fallen in a year from more than 100 a week in 2007 to less than five a week now.

“What we’re seeing is the Iraqi army transition themselves to take on this fight,” Caraccilo said. “But there’s great potential for a flash point here.”

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