A series of gun and bomb attacks has racked Iraq for the second straight day, with unidentified gunmen targeting a military base and car bombs exploding in Baghdad, Kirkuk and elsewhere.
More than 100 people are reported to have been killed and 180 injured in at least 19 separate explosions and attacks on Monday morning, officials said.
“It is certainly a sign that despite all gains made against al-Qaeda in Iraq … they are still out there,” reported Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, adding that the group had recently warned that it was commencing ”a new stage” in its campaign.
The Islamic State of Iraq, a group closely aligned with al-Qaeda in Iraq, warned in an audio message posted on jihadist forums that it would begin targeting judges and prosecutors as it renewed its campaign to free members who are currently being held in prison.
“We are starting a new stage,” said the voice on the message, purportedly that of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been leader of the Islamic State of Iraq since May 2010.
“The first priority in this is releasing Muslim prisoners everywhere, and chasing and eliminating judges and investigators and their guards.”
(via Al Jazeera)