'New militant threat' from Iraq


June 27, 2005

The insurgency in Iraq is creating a new type of Islamic militant who could go on to destabilise other countries, a leaked CIA report says.

The classified document says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of skills, from car bombings and assassinations to co-ordinated attacks.

It says these skills may make them more dangerous than fighters from Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s.

And the threat may grow when the Iraq insurgency ends and fighters disperse.

'Urban terrorism'
Militants could pose problems in their countries of origin, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but the report says countries further afield, including the US and the UK, could also be at risk.

Many recruits to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network trained and fought in Afghanistan, during the struggle against the Soviet-backed regime.

The broad conclusions of the report have been confirmed by an unnamed CIA official and are said to have been widely circulated in the intelligence community.

Earlier this year, the head of the CIA, Porter Goss, warned that unrest in Iraq was providing Islamist militants with training and contacts that could be used in new attacks abroad.

"Those jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism," he said.