Vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDS) are weapons of choice in the uncommon number of killing explosions across the cities of Iraq. On Monday alone, 68 people were killed and more than 300 injured. Nearly every part of Iraq was shaken by detonated car bombs and a wide range of explosive devices. The ongoing attacks are specifically aimed at security forces, without regard to sect. Shi’ites and Sunni are equally victimized. The worst of the violence thus far has struck the city of Kut, on the Tigris River, where 35 were killed. Nearly three dozen were killed in Taji. A suicide bomber in Najaf exploded his vehicle, killing four and injuring 32. A parked car outside a Karbala police station exploded, killing three policemen.
In Tikrit, two men in military uniforms parked a vehicle near a building where anti-terrorism work was being conducted. One man made it past the guards then detonated himself, killing three. In Kirkuk, four police officers were killed as a car bomb exploded next to the patrol car they occupied. Then a half hour later, a rigged motorcycle exploded, killing one more man. Bombs lashed to light poles in Mosul killed one person. Sixteen more were injured in Balad as a roadside bomb exploded.
A spokesman for al-Qaeda warned last week that the terrorist group was preparing wide-scale attacks. The speaker, Abi Muhhamed al-Adnani, declared that the, “Days of Zarqawi are going to return.” Al Zarqawi was an al-Qaeda leader killed by American forces in 2006. Al-Adnani said, “We are on the right path. Thank God we are doing very well here…We have men who have divorced themselves from life and love death more than you love life. And killing is one of their wishes.”
The bombings and threats are in response to announcements by Iraqi political leaders that they are in negotiation with the United States to determine whether some American forces might remain in Iraq past a December 31 withdrawal date. While all U.S. troops are slated to leave Iraq by the year's end, Iraqi and American officials are now concerned about the local ability to protect the country. The attacks are a warning that al-Qaeda will not tolerate any American presence and were launched at the prospect of some United States forces remaining. A Dubai-based Middle East security expert, Theodore Karasik, believes al-Qaeda is sending a message, "It seems that al-Qaeda in Iraq is playing a propaganda game at the same time it's trying to show that it can still carry out deadly violence," he said, "If the U.S. extends its military presence, al-Qaeda in Iraq can use it as a tool by saying, ‘Look, the Americans have reversed their decision to leave and are staying on as occupiers.’ They could use this as a justification for more attacks."