Qaeda says Iraq bloodshed marks new campaign


Al Qaeda’s front group in Iraq said Wednesday that a wave of attacks that killed 113 days earlier marked the launch of a new offensive, as officials said seven people died in new unrest.
The spate of violence nationwide on Monday, which also wounded more than 250 people, was the worst to hit Iraq in more than two and a half years and shattered a relative calm that had held in the lead-up to the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
On Wednesday, the Islamic State of Iraq claimed the attacks in a statement posted on jihadist forum Honein.
“As part of the new military campaign aimed at recovering territory given up by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the war ministry has sent its sons and the mujahedeen on a sacred offensive during the month of Ramadan,” the group said.
“The operation by the jihadists has stunned the enemy and made him lose his head. It has demonstrated the failings of the security and intelligence services,” it continued.
Last weekend, the group said it would look to retake territory, and appealed for Sunni tribes to provide support and send fighters, in an Internet audio message purportedly left by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.