Attacks, mainly by silencer guns and explosive devices targeting Iraqi army officers, have surged recently and more than 2,000 officers are reported to have been killed in the past few months.

Intelligence sources, refusing to be named, said in the face of the "new form of terror," Iraqi security forces have intensified their searches of individuals and vehicles particularly in Baghdad.

The intelligence sources said there were organized "assassination groups" whose main target was killing Iraqi army officers.To check the upsurge in violence directed at Iraqi army officers, the government says it is ready to pay more than $40,000 for informers on the deadly assassins.

A senior intelligence officer admitted that "these assassination networks" had infiltrated security, police and government ranks and were using government-licensed vehicles and identity cards to carry out their attacks.

Jihad al-Jaberi of the anti-explosive squad said "up to five army officers are killed by silencer guns" in Baghdad every week.Jaberi refused to deny or admit unidentified intelligence officer reports that more than 2,000 army officers have been killed so far.

However, Jaberi said assassination networks had infiltrated Baghdad and were very active. "They have their own intelligence gathering methods. They monitor their targets carefully and only attack when they are absolutely sure they are not be caught.""The past few days have seen an extensive campaign by these networks," he added.

By Karim Abdulzair,



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