Investigative journalist Michael Smith is the British Press Awards specialist writer of the year. He wrote the following article for the Timesonline.

September 16, 2007

Britain’s elite force is fighting its bloodiest conflict since the second world war in Iraq and has killed thousands of insurgents

Three suicide bombers, three cafes – many dead. That was the warning given by an informant to his MI6 handler in Baghdad in the summer of 2005 as a group of insurgents planned devastating attacks.

The bombers, swaddled in explosives under loose shirts, were preparing to hit the cafes with simultaneous explosions to cause maximum panic. Scores of people might die.

In the bloody chaos of Iraq, sifting hard fact from rumour and traps is never easy. But this intelligence seemed detailed and well sourced: the informant identified the targets, the date and the safe house from which the bombers would make their attack.

It sparked swift activity among the SAS, which in Iraq is facing its most severe challenge since it was set up during the second world war.

Read the article here

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