The director of the Pentagon agency devoted to stopping improvised bombings is in Baghdad this week meeting with Iraqi officials, but U.S. military officials caution that they will not be able to deliver quick solutions to suppress a string of suicide attacks there.
Army Lt. Gen. Michael Shields, the director of the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency (JIDA), traveled to Iraq with several staff members to discuss the spate of attacks in the city by the Islamic State and how to thwart them. His trip follows a July 3 bombing in Baghdad’s Karradah shopping district that killed more than 300 people, making it the deadliest attack of its kind since the United States toppled Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter offered JIDA’s assistance during a July 11 visit to Baghdad, and said that he and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi discussed using detectors on the perimeter of the city to find explosives, and how to locate the network of people who build and use the bombs.
Carter said JIDA’s involvement would “bring to the Iraqi security forces that substantial experience and tradecraft that we learned by hard experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan.” But U.S. military officials said Friday that there are additional steps to be taken before JIDA can help.
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