BAGHDAD, March 25 (UPI) -- An Iraqi military spokesman said Tuesday that an Iraqi civilian carried out the first suicide attack against U.S. and British forces in southern Iraq.
Brig. Hazem Abdel Kahhar al-Rawi, an Iraqi armed forces spokesman said a civilian "infiltrated behind enemy lines and destroyed a tank of the U.S. or British forces" in the Faw Peninsula.
Al-Rawi refused to give further details saying the suicide attack "reflects that we are Muslim and faithful people and our enemy is atheist and oppressive."
He told reporters in Baghdad that the "military strategy adopted by the enemy in confronting the Iraqi forces relies on exploiting the skies and desert. Our border with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is a barren desert that leads to most of the Iraqi provinces located along the Euphrates River."
"The sky over the desert gives the enemy freedom of air movement," al-Rawi said. "The enemy is still avoiding direct contact with Iraqi cities and forces."
He explained that Iraq's strategy focused on partitioning the country into self-sufficient sectors with independent responsibilities and full authority to deal with the enemy."
He said such a strategy achieves very positive results in "dealing with the enemy in all sectors at one time without being linked to the command system and control.
Al-Rawi said "the military map clarified that the enemy forces can reach quickly any outskirts but fear entering Iraqi provinces."
He said the southern Basra region was still the scene of continued fighting, especially in Umm Qasr, Faw and Safwan while battles were continuing in An-Nasiriyah where Iraqis were inflicting heavy casualties among enemy ranks.
He said the ongoing fighting was meant to prevent the advance of coalition forces and warned the U.S. and British against entering any Iraqi city because "the Iraqis will fight them even with axes and the same wooden sticks used by the Iraqi tribesmen to fight the British colonialist."