Iran 'supplies infra-red bombs' that
kill British troops in Iraq
By Toby Harnden, Chief Foreign Correspondent
British soldiers in Iraq are being killed by advanced "infra-red" bombs supplied by Iran that defeat jamming equipment, according to military intelligence officials.
The "passive infra-red" devices, whose use in Iraq is revealed for the first time by The Sunday Telegraph, are detonated when the beam is broken, as when an intruder triggers a burglar alarm. They were used by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group against Israel in Lebanon from 1995.
A radio signal is used to arm the bomb as a target vehicle approaches. The next object to break the infra-red beam - the target vehicle - detonates the device.
Coalition officials see the disturbing development as a key part of an aggressive new campaign by Teheran to drive coalition forces out of Iraq so that an Islamic theocracy can be established.
American and British intelligence officials believe that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is training, supplying and funding part of Iraq's insurgent Shia network and that its activities have been stepped up since the spring.
Links between Shia and Sunni Muslim groups, usually via trading by criminal arms dealers, means that expertise quickly spreads across Iraq.
"These guys have picked up in two years what it took the IRA a quarter-century to learn," said an Army bomb disposal officer in Iraq.
Four British soldiers are believed to have been killed by infra-red devices made in the town of Majar-al-Kabir. The bombmaker, in his early forties, was one of the agitators behind the mob killing of six Red Caps there in June, 2003. The man, whose name is known by this newspaper but has not been published for security reasons, has connections to Iran, and has reportedly been seen with agents from Teheran. His arrest has been ordered, and two of his lieutenants were detained in June.