Today, al Qaeda in Iraq executed its first major nationwide attack in a month; the group is also responsible for the last series of bombings and suicide attacks, which took place on March 20 and killed 46 people. At least 36 people were killed in today’s attacks in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul, Samarra, Taji, Baqubah, and Ramadi. From Reuters:
More than 20 bombs hit cities and towns across Iraq on Thursday, killing at least 36 and wounding more than 100, police and hospital sources said, raising fears of sectarian strife in a country keen to show it can now maintain security.
In Baghdad, three car bombs, two roadside bombs and one suicide car bomb hit mainly Shi’ite areas in what looked like coordinated attacks, killing 15 people and wounding 61, the sources said.
Two car bombs and three roadside bombs aimed at police and army patrols in the northern oil city of Kirkuk killed eight people and wounded 26, police and hospital sources said…
Elsewhere in northern Iraq, two car bombs targeting government-backed Sunni Sahwa militia went off in Samarra, two blasts hit Baquba, a roadside bomb exploded in Mosul and another roadside device exploded in Taji.
There were also shooting incidents and one policeman was killed in the town of Hadid, 10 kilometers west of Baquba, when gunmen opened fire on the station where he worked from a passing car, police sources said.
In the mainly Sunni Muslim province of Anbar in the west, two car bombs targeting police killed four and wounded 10 in Ramadi while a roadside bomb wounded four people in Falluja.
As we’ve noted before, AQI is still capable of occasionally organizing coordinated attacks, but the terror group has yet to reignite a Sunni-Shia sectarian civil war, as AQI spokesman spokesman Abu Muhammad al ‘Adnani has advocated as recently as the end of February [see Threat Matrix report, Al Qaeda in Iraq rails at Shias, claims deadly attacks]. AQI and allied terror groups such as Ansar al Islam were unable to conduct attacks in Baghdad during the Arab League summit that took place last month, which is a good sign that the Iraqi Security Forces can lock down the capital when needed.