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Bombers are said to use young decoys

March 21, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Iraqi insurgents used children to get past a Baghdad checkpoint and then blew up their vehicle with the two youngsters still in the back seat, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

The weekend attack killed the children and three bystanders, Army Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, with the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a briefing.

He said the vehicle was initially stopped at the checkpoint.

"Children in the back seat lower suspicion. We let it move through," Barbero said. "They parked the vehicle. The adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back. So the brutality and ruthless nature of this enemy hasn't changed. I mean, they are just interested in slaughtering Iraqi civilians to meet their ends."

The attack occurred near a market in the Adhamiya neighborhood, a defense official said.

Military officials were unable to offer more details, including whether the bombers were captured. Overall, Barbero said, suicide bombings have become less deadly as U.S. checkpoints have become more effective at preventing would-be attackers from reaching their targets.

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