Al Qaeda launches coordinated attacks across Iraq
Just two days after Abu Bakr al Baghdad, the emir of al Qaeda in Iraq's political front, the Islamic State of Iraq, released his first audiotape announcing a renewed offensive, the terror group launched coordinated attacks across six of the country's 18 provinces. More than 40 attacks took place in 13 Iraqi cities.
The New York Times has a good summary of today's attacks. The opening attack was against an Iraqi Army military base in Duluiyah; al Qaeda in Iraq fighters appear to have overrun the base, killing 15 soldiers and capturing one more:
The first attack came about 5 a.m. on Monday when gunmen stormed onto an Iraqi military base near the town of Duluiyah in Salahuddin Province and killed 15 Iraqi soldiers, according to security officials. Four soldiers, including a high-ranking officer, were wounded, and a fifth was taken prisoner by the insurgents, who escaped with him.
Then, in steady succession, mostly from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., car bombs were set off across the country, from Taji and Husseiniya north of Baghdad, to Sadr City in eastern Baghdad; in Tuz in western Salahuddin Province, Dujail in southern Salahuddin, and Balad and Baquba, northeast of the capital, according to police, hospital and Iraqi Army officials. Bombs also were set off in the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, and in Diwaniya Province in the south.
The insurgents also attacked the home of a police official in Balad, seriously wounding four family members, and ambushed a checkpoint near Baquba, killing one policeman. In all, 40 separate attacks were reported in six provinces.
Eight attacks occurred in Kirkuk Province, mostly targeting police patrols, with eight people killed and 42 wounded.
In Mosul, of the 11 people killed in four attacks there, seven were Iraqi soldiers. Other attacks targeted marketplaces and other places where civilians were sure to become victims...
By early afternoon the violence had mostly subsided. Then from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Iraqi officials said three more car bombs exploded in Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 18. The dead included an Iraqi brigadier general in a blast on a convoy in central Baghdad.
Today's attacks follow a series of similar attacks yesterday, in which more than 25 Iraqis were killed throughout the country.
As we've noted several times in the past, al Qaeda in Iraq, while weakened from its peak strength in 2006-2007, when it controlled large areas of Iraq, still maintains a network in the country, and has the capability to execute several coordinated attacks a month. This can easily be seen by looking at the incidents over the past year (see LWJ's archive of Today In entries for Iraq).