Wednesday, November 24, 2004

FRENCH RESISTANCE:Teens hunt U.S. troops in Iraq

24-Nov-04 FRENCH RESISTANCE:Teens hunt U.S. troops in Iraq

FRENCH RESISTANCE: Teens hunt U.S. troops in Iraq

Associated Press Writer

PARIS - The two teenage friends hardly seemed like Islamic radicals. They smoked marijuana, drank beer, listened to rap and wore jeans.

Yet the pair of French Muslims died insurgents in Iraq - one a suicide car bomber, say relatives who traced the young men's path from the slums of Paris through a religious school in Syria to the fight against the U.S.-led coalition next door.

Like many young Muslims here, Abdelhalim Badjoudj and Redouane el-Hakim didn't have jobs, and relatives and friends say they grew more alienated in recent years, surrounded by secular Western culture and by what many Muslims see as a subtle bigotry among Frenchmen against Arabs.

U.S. Army soldiers clean the street after a French suicide car bomber detonated an explosive device near a U.S. patrol on the airport road in Baghdad, Iraq, in this Oct. 20 file photo, killing himself and injuring four others according to US and Iraqi officials. (AP)
Badjoudj, who would have turned 19 on Dec. 16, allegedly blew himself up on Oct. 20 while driving a car filled with explosives near a U.S. patrol on Baghdad's airport road, wounding two American soldiers and two Iraqi police officers. He is thought to be the second French citizen to have carried out a suicide attack in Iraq.

The body of el-Hakim, 19, reportedly was found July 17 after U.S. troops bombed a suspected insurgent hide-out in Fallujah, the city west of Baghdad that was overrun this month by U.S. and Iraqi troops.

French officials also confirmed the death of a third French insurgent, identified as Tarek W. In his 20s, he reportedly was killed Sept. 17 after operating for several months in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, where most foreign fighters are based.

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