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October 16, 2007
Iraqi Shia Terrorists Targeting Polish Troops ahead of Elections
In an attempt to duplicate the successful tactics of al-Qaeda against the Spanish government in 2004, Shia terrorists are trying to target Polish troops in Iraq ahead of elections next Sunday, according to Counterterrorism blog:
Today, Shiite terrorists hit two bases used by Polish troops, with one attack killing five civilians, wounding two Polish soldiers, and wounding another 20 civilians. On Sunday, a little-known Shiite terrorist group claimed responsibility for multiple bomb attacks earlier this month in which the Polish ambassador was wounded. Poland's commitment of troops in Iraq has become a central issue in the debates, with Donald Tusk, head of the Civic Platform, criticizing any continued deployment of troops there. Poland participated in the 2003 invasion with the U.S., has about 900 troops there now, and over twenty have been killed in action. Terrorists always strike democracies where they are most vulnerable. And the softest target of all is the minds of voters on the eve of an election.
Poland is not as anti-war as some western European countries but sentiment has been turning against the Iraq war as of late as evidenced by the headway being made by Mr. Tusk. However, Prime Minister Kaczynski has come out and criticized the opposition, saying their calls for removal of Polish forces from Iraq is placing their lives in danger:
Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a strong ally of the United States, faces a tough challenge in the October 21 election from opposition parties that want to pull Polish troops out of Iraq. Kaczynski's party is in trouble but may yet be able to pull out a narrow victory if it is able to keep the opposition below 50% of the vote. But Tusk is riding a wave thanks to a good showing in a recent televised debate and may become the first prime minister of a single party government in Poland since the collapse of communism.
A majority of Poles want to bring the soldiers home.
Defence Minister Aleksander Szczyglo said opposition parties were increasing the risks for Poland's 900 soldiers in Iraq by making the engagement an issue in the campaign.
"The need to get into the parliament is causing some politicians to endanger the lives of our soldiers," Szczyglo told a news conference. He said that in calling for parties to limit discussion "I was only motivated by concerns for the safety of our soldiers."