Military Commander Says Iraqi Insurgents Are 'Thugs With No Soul'

Thursday, March 8th 2007, 5:39 am
By: News On 6

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ Insurgents in Iraq have sought to intensify attacks during a security crackdown in Baghdad, the new commander of U.S. forces of Iraq said Thursday.

U.S. Gen. David Petraeus said the backlash has come since U.S. and Iraqi forces began the security sweep three weeks ago.

``Car bombs have targeted hundreds of Iraqis,'' Petraeus said in his first news conference since taking over command last month.

Petraeus also denounced the ``thugs with no soul'' who have killed more than 150 Shiite pilgrims in the past three days.

Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims have been streaming by bus, car and foot toward the holy city of Karbala for annual religious rituals that begin Friday.

The Shiite religious rites mark the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Hussein's death in a 7th-century battle near Karbala cemented the schism between Sunnis and Shiites.