Sat Feb 1, 1:15 PM ET
BERLIN – (AP) Iraq will unleash thousands of suicide attackers against the United States if American troops invade, a senior Iraqi official was quoted Saturday as saying.
Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said in a German magazine interview that Iraq’s ability to withstand U.S. military might was “unlimited” and that American ground troops would face tough resistance.
“We have no long-range missiles or bomber squadrons, but we will deploy thousands of suicide attackers,” Ramadan told the weekly Der Spiegel. “These are our new weapons, and they will be used not only in Iraq.”
Other Arab countries would help defend Iraq in case of war, inflaming the entire Middle East, he said. “This part of the world will become a sea of resistance and danger for the Americans.”
Ramadan reiterated Iraq’s insistence that it no longer has weapons of mass destruction, and said his country is not working on an atomic bomb.
U.N. inspectors “can dig around wherever they want, but they won’t find anything because there simply isn’t anything there anymore,” he said.
Despite such denials, German intelligence officials believe Iraq has truck-borne weapons labs for making chemical or biological weapons, another German magazine reported Saturday.
The head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, August Hanning, has briefed lawmakers about the existence of such labs, telling them that Iraq bought parts that could be used for the purpose from German companies, the weekly Focus said.
Reports of Iraqi mobile labs for biological weapons have surfaced in the past. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last year that Iraq had the technology to make them, and other U.S. officials and former U.N. weapons inspectors have said that Saddam Hussein (news – web sites)’s government has probably developed them.
Focus gave no further details, and German intelligence officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.
But the Federal Intelligence Service issued a rare statement this week confirming it has given German lawmakers closed-door briefings on Iraq and is supplying the weapons inspectors with information gathered from its own sources.
However, the statement indicated the agency questions the reliability of some of the information it receives on Iraq and said it had discussed that point with other intelligence services, including the Americans.