• 77°

Honoré says enemies are paid to set off roadside bombs

Many of the improvised explosive devices detonated in Iraq and Afghanistan are set off by terrorists who are paid by different factions in those countries, Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré said Thursday.

“These factions could be religious groups, criminal elements or political factions seeking revenge for something,” Honoré said during a Thursday news conference at Camp Shelby.

Honoré is commander of the U.S. First Army, which is responsible for training the National Guard and Army Reserve to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

He was at south Mississippi’s Camp Shelby with 200 other military commanders for a conference on improvised explosive devices, better known as IEDs. Honoré said the IED, which is set off remotely, “is still the number one killer” of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The conference, he said, was designed to give the commanders the most current information on IEDs being used in Iraq and Afghanistan and to discuss countermeasures against them. That information is used at Camp Shelby to train troopers and reservists going to overseas, he said.

“We have teams in Iraq and Afghanistan that are fighting IEDs,” said Brig. Gen. Stewart Rodeheaver, incoming First Army deputy commander. “When they see something new. They get that information to us.”

Col. John Hadjis, commander of the 3rd Brigade 87th Division, which oversees training at Camp Shelby, said the new information arrives within three to five days “and then a day or two later, we have it included in our training.”

Honoré said the information on IEDs and other information about Iraq and Afghanistan are used to provide theater immersion training at Camp Shelby — a process where troops are placed in surroundings that make them feel that they have arrived in either country as soon as they begin their training.