Wednesday, January 05, 2005

We Are at War With the Wrong Bunch

CAIRO -- The suicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a US mess hall in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported yesterday.

Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat identified him as 20-year-old Ahmed Said Ahmed al-Ghamdi, citing unnamed friends of the man's father. The friends said members of an Iraqi resistance group contacted Ghamdi's father to tell him his son was the suicide bomber who carried out the Dec. 21 attack, the deadliest on a US installation in Iraq.

The father told the newspaper his son had gone to Iraq to fight the Americans and had died there. The family held a mourning ceremony, the paper said. US officials have said their preliminary investigation indicates the bomber was dressed in an Iraqi military uniform -- but was not an Iraqi soldier -- when he slipped into a mess tent packed with soldiers.

The paper did not name the Iraqi resistance group. But Ansar al-Sunnah, a radical Islamic Iraqi group that has been active in northern Iraq, claimed responsibility for the mess hall attack. In a videotape on the Internet, Ansar al-Sunnah identified the suicide bomber as Abu Omar al-Musali -- an apparent nom de guerre meaning Abu Omar of Mosul.

The man identified as Abu Omar al-Musali appeared in the Web video wearing an explosives-laden vest, but did not speak. Another man, speaking in an Iraqi accent, described how the operation had been planned. A subsequent segment showed what appeared to have been the attack.

Ansar al-Sunnah shares the anti-Western rhetoric of Islamic extremist groups like Al Qaeda, but has confined its fight to Iraq and has not actively recruited foreign fighters. The group, though, has declared that it worked with an Al Qaeda-linked group in Iraq in at least one operation in November.

Asharq al-Awsat said Ghamdi started studying medicine in Sudan when his father worked and lived there. Ghamdi stayed to complete his studies when his family returned to Saudi Arabia, the paper reported, without saying when the family left.

It said the father said that he learned Dec. 16 that his son had withdrawn all the money left in a Sudanese bank account for him and that he later received a call from his son telling him he was in Iraq to fight the Americans.

The Ghamdis are a large Saudi clan, three members of whom were among the Sept. 11 hijackers.

But Bush* only missed by one Country...