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Entries in IEDs (6)

Thursday
Jun072012

$23M in US Gear to Combat IEDs Wasted in Pakistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Millions of dollars of U.S. gear meant to combat the threat of roadside bombs is being wasted in Pakistan, which refuses to let the equipment leave its customs warehouses.

The U.S. procured 110 IED jammers for the Pakistani military at a cost of nearly $23 million in 2009 in an effort to ease the threat of the improvised explosive devices that have been the main cause of U.S. casualties in neighboring Afghanistan and taken a toll on Pakistan authorities as well.

So far, not one of the jammers has been put to use, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO report found that "55 jammers were still in Karachi awaiting release from Pakistani customs, and the remaining 55 jammers were being kept in storage in the United States until the initial 55 were released."

Leaving the unused jammers in a Pakistani warehouse also raises the cost of the shipment since the U.S. must pay the storage fees, a GAO spokesman told ABC News.

The U.S. has had difficulty getting Pakistan to accept additional gear meant to help Pakistan reduce the IED threat.

"Other U.S. procured counter-IED equipment under review and still in U.S. storage includes kits for use by combined explosive exploitation cells, explosive ordnance disposal items, and portable trace explosive detectors," the report states.

Despite the frustrations of getting Pakistan to accept the equipment, the U.S. is buying more remote-controlled IED jammers for Pakistan at a cost of $12.1 million, as well as $64 million worth of route clearance vehicles, according to the GAO.

Combating the construction and detonation of IEDs is a major concern for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In 2011, 16,500 IEDs were discovered or detonated against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. More than 80 percent of those bombs were made from calcium ammonium nitrate, known as CAN, a fertilizer that is made in Pakistan and smuggled into Afghanistan.

"Pakistan's ability to stem the flow of CAN and other IED precursors is a life and death issue for U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan," the GAO report said.

Nevertheless, the two countries' ability to cooperate on the issue has actually worsened since the U.S. assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

"U.S. agencies have encountered some challenges to providing assistance to Pakistan to counter IEDs, and events over the past 6 months have strained this important bilateral relationship," the GAO concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

Dozens Dead, Hundreds Wounded After Multiple Bombings in Iraq

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq came under siege on Thursday as dozens were killed and hundreds wounded in a coordinated series of attacks throughout the country.

At least 43 people died as the result of 16 car bombings as well as roadside explosions that seemed to mainly target Iraqi security forces, who’ve been criticized for not being able to contain al-Qaeda and radical militias since U.S. forces withdrew at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, the number of injured will likely reach 300 as hospitals fill up in and around Baghdad and in other Iraqi provinces.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the widespread assaults with many of the fatalities occurring in the capital.  At a Baghdad checkpoint, attackers used both guns with silencers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to kill six police officers.

In one of Thursday’s most violent attacks, a car bomb in Musayab, south of the capital, left two people dead and wounded 95 others.

Multiple bombings were also reported in Diyala province east of Baghdad, in northern Salahidine province and in the Kurdish city of Kirkuk, where insurgents struck two police patrols with car bombs, taking the lives of eight officers and injuring two dozen more.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

DHS: 62 Tons of Bomb-Making Chemicals Seized Since October 2010

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- More than 62 metric tons of materials used to make improvised explosive devices have been seized and 31 people have been arrested by the United States and other nations under a Department of Homeland Security program to track unusual shipments of the so-called “precursor chemicals,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Monday.

“We are working with more than 80 countries to prevent the illegal theft or diversion of precursor chemicals that can be used to make improvised explosive devices or IEDs. Through these efforts we have already seized more than 62 metric tons of these deadly materials,” Napolitano said in a speech on the State of America’s Homeland Security at the National Press Club.

Officials say there have been 31 arrests in conjunction with the program, mostly overseas, and according to the World Customs Organization, seizures have taken place in Afghanistan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uganda. Immigration Customs Enforcement proposed the idea to the World Customs Organization; INTERPOL is also a key partner in the initiative.

The program is an initiative to prevent the theft or illegal diversion of precursor chemicals that can be used to make IEDS by tracking unusual shipments of items such as acetone, ammonium nitrate, nitric acid and urea.

Officials say some of the triggers that flag these shipments and led to the precursor materials being interdicted include large cash payments, inappropriately packaged items, abnormal shipping routes and flags that the customer has no business need for the item being shipped.

“It’s basically a very robust and specific information sharing agreement that allows us to monitor and track the shipments of the kind of chemicals used in manufacture of IEDs and to make sure that as that commerce moves -- and some of these are chemicals that are used in agriculture, for example; they have legitimate uses as well as illegitimate uses,” Napolitano said. “Being able to separate those out and making sure that recipient is the right recipient, getting the right amount, as properly described, is what this information sharing agreement [is about]."

Napolitano said that under the Program Global Shield DHS and over 80 partner nations have recovered over 62 metric tons of precursor chemicals that could be used in IEDS since the program was set up in October 2010.

“Our ability to connect data is so much more robust than it was 10 years ago or indeed even three years ago,” she said. “Our ability to unite different types of databases so we can make the kinds of queries necessary to say, hey, look, we want to know whether this particular chemical is moving and where.” Napolitano said about how officials look for the chemicals.

Napolitano also discussed the wide swath of topics that DHS has to cover -- from natural disasters, immigration policy, airline security and protecting cyberspace.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec222011

Wave of Bombings in Baghdad Leave Dozens Dead

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty ImagesUPDATE: A car bomb and an IED attack in a neighborhood in West Baghdad killed another two people and left 10 others wounded, a police source confirmed to ABC News. A separate attack in al-Shurta al-Rabiea injured three, according to police. Sixty-five people have now been killed and 206 injured in 14 attacks Thursday across Baghdad.

(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq's security forces on Thursday were put to their first real test since the last American troops exited the country earlier in the week when a series of coordinated bombings in Baghdad killed dozens of people and injured scores more.

As of early Thursday morning, at least 63 were reported dead and 185 others wounded, police told ABC News.

The attacks involved car bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and occurred virtually everywhere in the capital, from the Shuala and Shaab neighborhoods in the north to the Al-Amil and Dura areas in the south.  Neighborhoods in central, eastern and western Baghdad were also targeted.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the bombings were similar to others launched in the past by al Qaeda as well as Shiite and Sunni extremists.

Meanwhile, Iraq is currently undergoing a political crisis with an arrest warrant out for the country's Sunni vice president and rumors that Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is attempting a power grab to marginalize his Sunni opponents.

Thursday's carnage could signal a renewed effort by anti-government militants to destabilize Iraq's fragile democracy whose defense is now solely in the hands of national security forces.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec192011

Baghdad IED Attacks Leave at Least 10 Injured

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- A series of attacks in and around the Iraqi capital of Baghdad has left at least 10 wounded, according to early reports.

An improvised explosive device detonated Monday morning inside the al Hamra Hotel compound in the al Jadiriyah area. The IED was planted inside an empty house and left two civilians wounded.

In a separate attack, two IEDs exploded near an Iraqi police officer’s home in the al Taji area of northern Baghdad, injuring the officer and five of his family members.

A third attack, this one in the al-I'alam neighborhood of southwest Baghdad, left three people wounded.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct252011

Five Charged in Iranian Smuggling Network Linked to Iraq IEDs

Photodisc/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department has charged five people, including an Iranian man, and four companies with illegally exporting specialized transmitters from a U.S. company to Iran that later were found in unexploded improvised explosive devices in Iraq.

The indictment charges Hossein Larijani, an Iranian citizen, with illegally exporting the radio frequency transmitters through companies and individuals in Singapore who then forward the items to Iran.

Police in Singapore arrested four others who have been indicted in the case -- identified as Wong Yuh Lan, Lim Yong Nam, Lim Kow Seng and Hia Soo Gan Benson -- for their alleged role in conspiring with Larijani to obtain the transmitters from the Minnesota wireless company Digi.

The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy, smuggling, false statements, obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting and violations of the Arms Export Control Act and Iranian Transaction regulations.

According to the indictment unsealed Tuesday, between August 2007 and February 2008 the transmitters were sent to Singapore and then sent to Iran by Larijani’s company, Opto Electronics Ltd. The indictment alleges that U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq recovered unexploded IEDs in Iraq in May 2008, December 2008, April 2009 and July 2010.

“These defendants misled U.S. companies in buying parts that they shipped to Iran and that ended up in IEDs on the battlefield in Iraq,” Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement.

The indictment filed at U.S. District Court in Washington alleges that Ling Yong Nam’s company, NEL Electronics, and Lim Kow Seng and Hia Soo Gan Benson, from a firm called Corezing International, made false statements to Digi about obtaining 6,000 of the transmitters claiming they would be used for a “telecom project” in Singapore.

According to Digi’s website, the transmitters can carry signals as far as 40 miles away with specialized antennas. Calls to Digi asking about the case were not returned.

Iranian influence in Iraq has been a concern for several years now, especially when U.S. officials noticed that Iran was providing insurgents in Iraq with explosively formed projectile devices.

In an interview with Bloomberg in June 2011 before he retired, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Iran is “facilitating weapons, they’re facilitating training, there’s new technology that they’re providing....They’re stepping this up, and it’s a concern.”

The Justice Department also alleges that Seng and Benson, through Corezing, illegally exported from the United States antennas used on U.S. military aircraft from a firm in Massachusetts. In total about 55 of the antennas were exported to Singapore and Hong Kong after they allegedly made false statements and avoided filing shipping declarations.

The United States is seeking the extradition of the four defendants from Singapore. Larijani is believed to currently be in Iran.

“This case underscores the continuing threat posed by Iranian procurement networks seeking to obtain U.S. technology through fraud and the importance of safeguarding that technology,” Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division Lisa Monaco said in a statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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