U.S. condemns al-Qaida for perpetrating terror attacks in Iraq
The U.S. government on Saturday strongly condemned al-Qaida for perpetrating a chain of terror attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, calling the attackers "enemies of Islam", Xinhua reported.
"At least 40 people were killed and 250 others wounded in a wave of violent attacks across Iraq on Saturday, mostly in Baghdad. The 10 car bomb attacks, mostly targeting markets, restaurants and cafes, occurred as Iraqis were celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Describing them as "cowardly attacks" that bear the hallmarks of similar suicide and vehicle bomb attacks in Iraq over the past 90 days, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said most of these attacks "have been perpetrated by al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI)," which is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu D'ua.
"These attacks were aimed at families celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community," Psaki said.
The U.S. has offered a 10-million-dollars reward for information that helps authorities kill or capture Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is now based in Syria and has changed the name of AQI to the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham. This reward is second only to information leading to the capture of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of al-Qaida, Psaki said.
The United States is prepared to work closely with the Iraqi government "to confront the threat posed by Al Qaida in Iraq and other terrorist groups," she said.
The U.S. and Iraq will hold discussions on strengthening bilateral cooperation on fighting terrorism and other areas during next week's visit to Washington by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, she added.
Iraq is witnessing its worst eruption of violence in five years, which raises fears that the country is sliding back to the full-blown civil conflict that peaked in 2006 and 2007, when monthly death toll sometimes exceeded 3,000.
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq recently reported more than 1,000 Iraqis were killed and more than 2,300 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in July, the deadliest month in more than five years.