According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, al-Qaeda is rebuilding its forces in Iraq. They say that an average of 20 attacks occur each day, about double what it was at the beginning of the year. (Many of these attacks go unreported in the media.)
The surge is being fed not only by political instability, but also by a dramatic increase in the number of fighters available. Many are rejoining the al-Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of Iraq straight from prison. Some of them outright escaped, but many have been released thanks to a lack of evidence against them.
Security forces have also found evidence of training campsites in the western deserts. Not only does the unpopulated expanse give cover to the camps, the desert borders Syria, allowing the fighters easy access to that war. Although the Syrian rebels are composed of various groups, Syria’s government is Shi’ite-led, like Iraq’s, making it a preferred target for the Sunni insurgents in al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, at least eight Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded.
A bomb explosion in Abu Ghraib killed three soldiers and wounded three more.
A blast killed two members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan while they were driving near Tal Afar.
Ten passengers were wounded when a bomb targeting a mini-bus exploded in Suleiman Pak.
In Baghdad, gunmen targeting a brigadier general killed his driver instead.
Gunmen killed a civilian in Mussayab late last night.
Several kidnapping victims from Baghdad were liberated near Samawa.