INTERNATIONAL

Saddam rewards bomber's kin

IN THE IRAQI DESERT MARCH 30. The Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, handsomely rewarded the army officer who targeted U.S. forces in a suicide bombing, reportedly honouring him with a posthumous promotion, two new medals and a huge financial windfall for his family.

Calling the tactic a ``routine military policy,'' Mr. Hussein's regime threatened more such attacks on Americans and Britons — even on their own soil.

The bomber, posing as a taxi driver, struck on Saturday, killing himself and four soldiers. He pulled up close to a roadblock north of the Shiite holy city of Najaf, waved to American troops for help, then blew up his vehicle when they approached. Iraq's Vice-President, Taha Yassin Ramadan, indicated the attack was part of a coordinated effort to thwart invaders who can't be defeated by conventional warfare. He also raised the spectre of attacks on U.S. or British soil. ``We will use any means to kill our enemy in our land and we will follow the enemy into its land,'' Mr. Ramadan said. ``This is just the beginning. You'll hear more pleasant news later.''

The bomber — identified as Ali Jaafar al-Noamani, a non-commissioned officer with several children — was posthumously promoted to colonel and awarded two medals — Al-Rafidin, or The Two Rivers, and the Mother of All Battles, state TV reported. His family reportedly was awarded 100 million dinars — the equivalent of $34,000, a fortune in Iraq.

The names of the Americans killed in the car bombing were not immediately released.

They were from the Army's 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. It was the first known suicide attack since the invasion began. — AP

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