"Now the noose around Al Qaida has been tightened by the security forces
and the ordinary Iraqi citizens," Al Maliki said.
Officials said the Al Qaida network has been alarmed by its losses in
Iraq and was sending operatives to other areas of the Middle East. They said
many of the Al Qaida fighters have entered neighboring Syria, struck by a
series of car bombings and other attacks over the last two months.
Morocco was also said to have been the latest venue for escaping Al
Qaida fighters. Officials said the flow of Al Qaida fighters dropped
significantly in 2008 -- from 90 to two insurgents per month.
Iraqi National Security Adviser Muwafaq Al Rubaie said Al Qaida has been
split amid the offensive by the military in 2008. Al Rubaie said Al Qaida
fighters have lost contact with their commanders in several provinces.
"It has become disintegrated and their gunmen can no longer hold
contacts with the armed men in Diyala and Salah Eddin," Al Rubaie said.
Al Rubaie said Al Qaida maintains a single network in Iraq. The network
was believed to be based in the Baghdad area.
"If we suceed in dismantling it, we would be able to declare the end of
its history in Iraq," Al Rubaie said in a briefing.