Iraq is descending into more indiscriminate violence after a period of relative
calm, according to a Australian private security contractor working in the country.
He was commenting on the latest deadly outbursts in Iraq that has claimed
scores of victims, including an Australian security contractor, among three
foreigners killed in a roadside ambush on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old NSW man was shot along with two other foreign nationals, believed
to be an American and a Canadian, while traveling in a convoy on the main road
near Baghdad International Airport.
Reuters have named the man as Chris Ahmelman.
The attack came ahead of a missile strike on a civilian Bulgarian helicopter,
in which at least nine people died and the discovery of 60 bodies of possibly
Shi'ite hostages in the Tigris River.
Another Australian contractor working in Iraq for security company AKE Asia
Pacific said today the tempo of violence was on the rise again.
"It appears that it's now picking up again ... it's quite dangerous here,"
the contractor, identified only as Rodge, told ABC radio.
"You certainly wouldn't want to be on the ground without some kind of
protection," he said.
"I would say that things are becoming more unstable here on the ground
and every day you can just see people are a little more scared.
"There's a lot of things that are going on behind the scenes that people
don't really have a lot of knowledge about."
Rodge said the stretch of road between Baghdad and the airport was a particularly
"I think because it's a main artery for all foreigners coming in and
out of the country. That road is essentially pretty much the only way you can
get into the country."
The dead Australian had been working as a security officer with British firm
Edinburgh Risk and Security Management.
He was the fourth Australian to die in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.
"It's one of those situations where you can be in the wrong place at
the wrong time. That road out to the airport is notorious," Rodge said.
"I've narrowly missed car bombings myself. You can get lucky sometimes.
I've been on the road and there's not an incident. Other times I've been there
and there's been an incident beforehand and an incident after I've gone, so
it's a real timing issue."