A United States marine doctor holds an Iraqi girl in central Iraq yesterday. Confused front line crossfire ripped apart an Iraqi family yesterday after local soldiers appeared to force civilians towards U.S. marines positions.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP):
A SUICIDE bomber in a taxi killed four American soldiers in an attack yesterday. Iraq's vice-president identified the bomber as an Iraqi army officer and said suicide attacks will now be "routine military policy".
"We will use any means to kill our enemy in our land and we will follow the enemy into its land," Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan said at a press conference. "This is just the beginning. You'll hear more pleasant news later."
The suicide bombing was the first against United States and British forces since the invasion began.
The bomber struck at a U.S. checkpoint on the highway north of the city of Najaf, U.S. military officers said. A taxi stopped close to the checkpoint, and the driver waved for help. The soldiers approached the car and it exploded, Capt. Andrew Wallace told Associated Press Television News.
Wallace said the victims were part of the Army's 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.
U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar, confirmed the incident. Maj. Gen. Victor Renuart said that kind of attack was "a symbol of an organisation that's starting to get a little bit desperate".
Ramadan identified the bomber as Ali Jaafar al-Noamani, a non-commissioned army officer and father of several children. A detailed statement on the bombing would be issued later, he said.
Regarding suicide bombings, Ramadan said Iraq, like many other nations, cannot match the weaponry of the United States. "They have bombs that can kill 500 people, but I am sure that the day will come when a single martyrdom operation will kill 5,000 enemies," he said.
He said thousands of Arab volunteers have been pouring into Iraq since the start of the war and that Iraq will provide them with what they need to fight.
"The Iraqi people have a legal right to deal with the enemy with any means," he added.
Ramadan said Iraq won't accept any diplomatic bid to end the fighting unless it provides for the departure of U.S. and British troops within 48 hours.
He also rejected the latest United Nations Security Council resolution on resuming humanitarian aid to Iraq, saying it provided a blanket of legitimacy for the U.S.-led invasion.
"We categorically reject the Security Council resolution," he said. "It was born dead and will remain dead."
There have been warnings of suicide attacks in Iraq. Iraqi dissidents and Arab media have claimed that Saddam Hussein has opened a training camp for Arab volunteers willing to carry out suicide bombings against U.S. forces in Iraq.
Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden also urged Iraqis last month in an audio tape aired on Arabic television to employ the tactic against the Americans. Other Arab militants also spoke about suicide missions against the invading armies.