Al-Qaida warns of more Iraq attacks

March 20, 2013 at 9:16 AM
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BAGHDAD, March 20 (UPI) -- Attacks on Shiite neighborhoods Tuesday in Baghdad are only the beginning of al-Qaida's vengeance, the terrorist organization said.

The Islamic State of Iraq took credit for a string of attacks in Baghdad that left roughly 60 people dead on the 10th anniversary of the U.S. declaration of war on Iraq. At least 200 people were wounded.

Al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq was quoted by the Voice of Iraq news agency as saying "these explosions are just the beginning."

Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Ma'an said security teams managed to arrest seven members of al-Qaida and dismantle three car bombs in the capital city before they exploded.

U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen issued his final report to Congress this month. He said that despite a 10-year engagement that cost the United States $60 billion, Iraqi leaders said they were uncertain if the effort was worth the expense.

Meghan O'Sullivan, a Harvard University professor and expert on Iraq, told the Council on Foreign Relations in January that Iraq descended into a political crisis almost as soon as U.S. forces left the country in late 2011.

Sunni leaders in western Iraq have called for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, to be removed from power. Elections in the country are set for April in a fracturing internal political climate. Elections in Anbar and Ninawa provinces were delayed six months because of security concerns.

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