US warns of rising threat from al-Qaida in Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Top U.S. and Iraqi diplomats warned Thursday of a rising threat in Iraq from al-Qaida, which is carrying out suicide and car bombings with greater frequency nearly two years after U.S. troops withdrew from the country. [...]
"Iraq sits at the intersection of regional currents of increasingly turbulent, violent and unpredictable actions," (Secretary of State John) Kerry said. [...] "And al-Qaida, as we have seen, has launched a horrific series of assaults on innocent Iraqis, even taking credit for the deplorable bombings this past weekend that targeted families that were celebrating the Eid holiday..." [...]
In 2011 and 2012 there was an average of five to 10 suicide bombings a month, according to a senior administration official familiar with Kerry's talks with his Iraqi counterpart. They have averaged about 30 in each of the past three months... [...]
Violence has been on the rise across Iraq since a deadly crackdown by government forces on a Sunni protest camp in April, and attacks against civilians and security forces notably spiked during Ramadan. The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could see a new round of sectarian bloodshed similiar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007. [...]
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