Monday, November 03, 2008

"House Bombs" Deter Iraqi Refugees from Returning Home

In another example of the dangers facing displaced Iraqis trying to return home, the U.S. News and World Report has reported on a new tactic insurgents are using in Diyala province:

The destroyed homes are the result of one of Al Qaeda in Iraq's latest strategies—converting homes into bombs, or "house-borne improvised explosive devices," as they've been dubbed. It's a tactic particular to this province, which is a combustible mix of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish residents... Over the past year, some 60 dwellings were destroyed by AQI. Many were demolished as fighters fled when U.S. and Iraqi Army units bore down on their positions. AQI fighters also conceal mines and IEDs in the lush palm and date groves around the area.

Efforts are being made to defuse these bombs and reestablish security as some refugees begin to return:

In response to the dozens of households moving back to the area, local Iraqi reconciliation committees have devised a new strategy. Iraqi and coalition teams will de-mine the areas where fighting has taken place so that residents can return. Then, some of the sons from returning families will be hired as security guards, with a guaranteed paycheck for several months. This has the dual impact of employing returning residents and making the area more difficult for [Al Qaeda in Iraq] to re-establish itself.