Accessibility links

Breaking News

US Expects al-Qaida in Iraq to Stage 'Spectacular Attacks' After Setbacks

The U.S. military says it expects al-Qaida in Iraq to lash out with "spectacular attacks" after major U.S.-led offensives have disrupted the group's activities.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, said Wednesday that 26 senior al-Qaida leaders were killed or captured in May and June. General Bergner described al-Qaida as the main near term security threat in Iraq.

In the latest violence in Iraq, the U.S. military says gunmen killed 11 people by locking them inside a house and then blowing it up. U.S. spokesman, Major Jeff Pool said the attack in Garma, west of Baghdad, may have been an act of revenge against the owner of the house, who is involved with the local security forces.

Also Wednesday, Iraq's Interior Ministry said security forces seized 200 suicide bomb belts from a truck that entered the country from Syria.

In raids Wednesday targeting al-Qaida, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed two terrorists and detained 20 suspects throughout Iraq. The military also said a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in the town of Sherween has killed 20 terrorists since Tuesday.

In other news, Germany's foreign minister says one of two German hostages held in Iraq since February has been freed. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters in Berlin that Hannelore Krause was released Tuesday. Her adult son is still a captive.

A militant Islamist group had threatened to kill the two hostages unless Germany pulled out of Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.