Eight British soldiers killed during ambushes in Iraq were the victims of a highly sophisticated bomb first used by the IRA, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
The soldiers, who were targeted by insurgents as they travelled through the country, died after being attacked with bombs triggered by infra-red beams. The bombs were developed by the IRA using technology passed on by the security services in a botched "sting" operation more than a decade ago.
This contradicts the British government's claims that Iran's Revolutionary Guard is helping Shia insurgents to make the devices.
The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that the bombs and the firing devices used to kill the soldiers, as well as two private security guards, were initially created by the UK security services as part of a counter-terrorism strategy at the height of the troubles in the early 1990s.
It seems as if, according to an ex-agent, back in the early '90's the IRA were working on infra-red detonation for their bombs. Hearing this, members of the shadowy army undercover outfit, the Force Research Unit, and officers from MI5 decided, amazingly, that "if they were intimate with the technology, then they could develop counter-measures, thereby staying one step ahead of the IRA". They promptly gave the IRA the technology they needed - and they promptly shared it with Farc guerrillas in Colombia, the Basque separatists, ETA and Palestinian groups - and thus to Iraq.
Update Feb 11th 2007. If you're reading this post, then perhaps you would be interested in my look at the so-called evidence presented at a secret-squirrel briefing in Iraq today, purporting to show that IED's and other weapons come from Iran. It falls far short of a slam-dunk case.