The men knew the road they were on was dangerous. They were in the heart of Iraq’s Sunni Triangle. This was Saddam Hussein’s former stronghold and the insurgency was thriving here. This particular road had been nicknamed “IED Alley.”
It was Feb. 27, 2006, and tensions were high. Five days earlier, Sunni extremists had bombed the gilded dome of the Samarra’s Askariya shrine, an attack that would unleash devastating sectarian violence throughout the country.