BAGHDAD, (AFP) – Al-Qaeda’s front group, the Islamic State of Iraq, said it carried out 131 attacks in the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, a statement on the Honein jihadist forum said.
The ISI said the attacks in Diyala province and south of Baghdad were mainly against security forces and anti-Qaeda militiamen, according to the statement posted on Friday.
Ramadan, which lasted from July 21 through August 18 for Sunnis, was an especially deadly time for Iraq, with more than 400 people killed in attacks country-wide, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources.
Violence often rises during Ramadan in Iraq because “radicalised terrorists are often more intent on conducting these (suicide attacks) … because it is a period associated with martyrdom and self-sacrifice,” said John Drake, a security analyst with AKE Group.
The ISI declared a campaign in July to retake territory it had abandoned in the years since the peak of Iraq’s sectarian bloodshed between 2006 and 2008.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is regarded by Iraqi officials as significantly weaker than at the peak of its strength in 2006 and 2007, but it is still capable of spectacular mass-casualty attacks across the country.