By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
Nov. 1, 2007 - The number of explosively formed penetrators, a particularly deadly form of improvised explosive device, is down in Iraq, a top coalition commander said today. However, it is unclear whether Iran has slowed shipments of the deadly weapons into Iraq or not, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno said from his headquarters of Multinational Corps Iraq in Baghdad.
In October, coalition forces encountered 53 explosively formed projectiles: 30 explosions and 23 found before they exploded. In September, the number was 52, while coalition forces encountered 78 projectiles in August. In July, forces encountered 99 of the deadly devices. Odierno said July was the apex of the weapons' emplacement in Iraq.
"I will say that although we still have, in my mind, way too many explosively formed projectiles, in the last three months, that has been on a downward trend, but it's still at a ... high level," he said.
The recent coalition discovery of a huge stockpile of explosively formed projectiles in Diyala province still does not shed light on Iranian participation in killing American troops. Soldiers found more than 100 projectiles already made and the fixings for hundreds more. Odierno said analysts could not tell if the shipment was new in the country or not.
"It's unclear yet to me whether they have slowed down bringing in weapons and supporting the insurgency or not," he said. "I'll still wait and see."