The gas cloud in Baghdad, meanwhile, suggests possible new and coordinated strategies by bombers trying to unleash toxic - and potentially deadly - materials. "Terrorists are using dirty means," said Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi, an Iraqi military spokesman.
In Baghdad, a pickup truck carrying chlorine gas cylinders was blown apart, killing at least five people and sending more than 55 to hospitals gasping for breath and rubbing stinging eyes, police said.
On Tuesday, a bomb planted on a chlorine tanker left more than 150 villagers stricken north of the capital. More than 60 were still under medical care on Wednesday. Chlorine causes respiratory trouble and skin irritation in low levels and possible death with heavy exposure.
In Washington, two Pentagon officials said the tactic has been used at least three times since Jan. 28, when a truck carrying explosives and a chlorine tank blew up in Anbar province. More than a dozen people were reported killed.
My feelings about the troop withdrawal are mixed. I can't but agree with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, as quoted by the BBC.
"The most significant implication behind Blair's Iraq pullout is political, not military... Blair understands very well the importance of staying in Iraq... in order to prevent the country from splitting apart... He knows that an exit in defeat means an added crisis for the world and not Iraq only... That is why it is a surprise that he insisted on staying in January and then decided to withdraw three weeks later." Syria's Tishrin says 'this withdrawal is definitely the start of the actual defeat in Iraq'.
What's particularly depressing is the possibility that
a) Blair's trying to get out while saving as much face as possible
b) that course is approved by the British people
EU Referendum says it pretty well - neither one thing nor the other. A little retreat. As Richard North writes :
Loathsome though the newspaper is, it is very hard to disagree with the general thrust of the front-page headline in the Independent today, or the tenor of their story, which begins:
It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger. In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day…
Meanwhile our troops are still being killed in under-armoured Land Rovers, while the Government spends £500 billion a year on other things.