( dpa ) - After the bloody attacks in Baghdad on Friday and Saturday, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki Saturday announced the launch of a new military offensive against terrorists in northern Iraq.
The news agency Aswat al-Iraq reported that al-Maliki was speaking in Mosul, where he said the time was ripe to begin the decisive battle against terrorism in northern Iraq.
Armed groups and supporters of the regime of the deposed and executed Saddam Hussein have used the region as a springboard for criminal actions against the people of Iraq, al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki met Saturday in Mosul with military commanders to discuss the city's security situation. The prime minister indicated that the decisive battle against the terrorist network of al-Qaeda would be carried out in Mosul.
Attacks on Baghdad's pet and bird markets on Friday - carried out by two female suicide bombers identified by al-Maliki as mentally retarded - left at least 84 people dead and 153 injured, hospital and police sources said Saturday.
On Saturday, at least eight people were killed and 17 wounded, including militants of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, in separate attacks.