What many would view as being fairly mediocre machines, the Opel brand is gaining great street cred in Iraq as the vehicle of choice for rebels when mounting attacks.

What many would view as being fairly mediocre machines, the Opel brand is gaining great street cred in Iraq as the vehicle of choice for rebels when mounting attacks.

In the attacks targeting civilians, Iraqi police officials and US soldiers, Opels are increasingly being identified as playing a crucial role in the attacks.

In the city of Kirkuk, police chief General Turhan Yusef said that in the past six months, 51 of the 63 attacks against police involved Opel cars.

In Mosul, of the 63 guerilla attacks in the past 10 months, 42 had involved Opels. This was compared to the seven attacks using BMWs and the 13 involving Volkswagens.

The speed and also the sliding roof feature on some of the models were given as some important reasons why Opels were being referred by the resistance, said Mosul police chief General Hekmat Mohammad.

"Also, because there are so many of them, it is easy for them to escape unnoticed," he added.

In Baghdad's second hand car district, dealers also highlighted the key reasons for the Opel's popularity.

"The cars are strong, fast and inexpensive," said dealer Abdul Sadher Hamid al-Hashim.

Another dealer Mohammed Shabith said Opels accounted for 80 per cent of his trade, but was less convinced of their appeal to guerrillas.

"Sure, it's a strong, fast and cheap car, but with the money these people get paid for the attacks, they don't care about cost."

But one resident of Fallujah, where Opels have been targeted by police for being a favourite among thieves, has had enough.

"I'm going to sell my Opel, I'm sick and tired of being pulled over by the police looking for terrorists," he said.

Original article from Car