Barrel bombs risk becoming answer to insurgency

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Desperate governments in the Mideast and Africa are using barrel bombs in their frustrated efforts to gain ground against insurgents.

The cheap, quickly manufactured weapons serve as a crude counter to roadside blasts and suicide explosions that rebels have deployed with deadly success for years.

New evidence that barrel bombs are being used in Iraq after being dropped on civilian populations in Syria and Sudan has raised concerns that governments in a number of unstable nations will embrace them.

Described as 'flying IEDs' — or improvised explosive devices — barrel bombs have the power to wipe out a row of buildings in a single blast and can kill large numbers of people, including unintended victims.

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