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.