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Tuesday, August 16, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Wave of Ramadan suicide strikes kill 100 throughout Iraq

BAGHDAD — After months of preparation, Al Qaida has launched an offensive in Iraq.


Al Qaida is said to have conducted a series of bombings that killed nearly 100 people in cities throughout Iraq. In what was termed the most sophisticated attack in 2011, Al Qaida detonated bombs in at least eight cities that ranged from Kirkuk in the north to Kut in the south. Many of the targets were police stations and security facilities.

"Today's attacks were not a surprise," Baghdad security spokesman Maj. Gen. Qasim Atta, said on Aug. 15. "Every three or four months, Al Qaida carries out operations in order to prove they are still here."

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Atta said several Al Qaida attacks were disrupted. He did not elaborate.

The worst hit by the bombings was Kut. At least 37 people were killed in a spate of coordinated explosions in a crowded market during the Muslim fast month of Ramadan, Middle East Newsline reported.

Al Qaida is also said to have attacked Baghdad, Balad, Baquba, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf and Tikrit. All of the strikes took place in the morning and included three suicide bombers. In all, at least 89 people were killed and 230 injured in attacks in 17 cities and towns.

Officials acknowledged that the Interior Ministry had been prepared for an Al Qaida offensive during Ramadan. They blamed lax security as well as a poor command structure for the success of Al Qaida's latest effort.

For hours, Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki maintained silence in wake of the bombings. Al Maliki has been blamed by many in parliament for failing to improve security in Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities.

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