June 1, 2005 -- WASHINGTON - More than 40 percent of the suicide bombers dispatched by terror leader Abu Musab al- Zarqawi to attack Iraqis and U.S. troops hailed from Saudi Arabia, according to a new study.
Only 9 percent of the bombers were Iraqis, said the report by the SITE Institute, a counterterror group.
The analysis bolsters the Bush administration's claims that the Iraqi borders are not well policed and fanatical foreign jihadists have been streaming into the country to wreak deadly havoc.
SITE recently discovered a "Martyrs' List" that Zarqawi posted on a Web site to commemorate the fanatics who were recruited as foot soldiers in the group's deadly campaign of car bombings and other attacks to undermine Iraq's transition to democracy.
An analysis of 107 bombers whose names and backgrounds Zarqawi's group published revealed that 45 of the dead extremists, or 42 percent, came from Saudi Arabia, said Rita Katz, SITE director.
Many other bombers were Syrian, Kuwaiti, Palestinian, Afghani, Libyan and even French, while only 10 of the attackers, or 9 percent, were Iraqi-born.
"What we see here is there are a lot of people who appear to be quite well educated leaving universities, good jobs and families to go to Iraq to fight the jihad," Katz said.
"It means there is huge support for Zarqawi and al Qaeda among the younger generation - particularly in Saudi Arabia - who are going to Iraq not to liberate Iraq, but to engage in the battle between the mujahedeen and the crusaders. This is in Iraq now. But it could be somewhere else tomorrow."
The report by SITE is the first phase of a larger study of the nearly 400 suicide attackers' names that appear on the Web list. Katz believes that the analysis of the 107 bombers is reflective of the full list of dead terrorists.
Foreign fighters running amok in Iraq are becoming a growing security issue for the new Iraqi government.
Yesterday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari was at the U.N. Security Council, demanding that Syria do more to stop foreign terrorists from crossing into Iraq. He charged Syria was a "main transit route" for the guerrillas.
One section of the Zarqawi group's list of bombers mentions 12 Saudis in their 20s who were among the first to travel to Iraq after the U.S. invasion and carried out mass murders in the Kurdish north.
"Their faith turned them over to abandon the existing world and its pleasures to the lava and inferno of war. These are Arab volunteers who went to make the Iraqis triumph . . . to confront what the president George Bush described as a crusade," the statement said.
* Iraqi authorities expect to put Saddam Hussein on trial in the next two months.
"The court of Iraq will decide the future of Saddam Hussein," President Jalal Talabani told CNN, adding there is a strong public desire for him to be executed if convicted.