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Abdel Salam Kubaisi, a spokesman for the Muslim Scholars Assn., a hard-line Sunni Arab clerical organization sympathetic to insurgents, called the practice un-Islamic. "Our religion does not permit us to hurt animals," he said, "neither by using them as explosive devices nor in any other manner."
Of 4,300 dogs sent to Vietnam, 2,000 were handed over to the South Vietnamese army and 2,000 were put to sleep. Only 200 managed to make it home, said Ron Aiello, Vietnam War-era dog handler who runs U.S. War Dog, a 1,100-member Burlington, N.J., organization.
Last year in Ramadi, in the vast desert west of the capital, insurgents dispatched a booby-trapped donkey toward a U.S.-run checkpoint around sunset. "As one of the soldiers tried to stop it, the donkey exploded," said resident Mohammed Yas, 45. The only casualty was the donkey.