Terror group al Qaeda has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from the country in late 2011.
Al Qaeda is now stronger than it has been in years, and the death toll in Iraq is now the highest that it has been in a decade.
The Associated Press reports:
Al Qaeda has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late 2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years. The terror group has shown it is capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks several times a month, driving the death toll in Iraq to the highest level in half a decade. It sees each attack as a way to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos that weakens the Shiite-led government’s authority.
Recent prison breaks have bolstered al Qaeda’s ranks, while feelings of Sunni marginalization and the chaos caused by the civil war in neighboring Syria are fueling its comeback.
Iraqi officials have acknowledged that al Qaeda is growing stronger.
Al Qaeda has begun actively recruiting more young Iraqi men to take part in suicide missions after years of relying primarily on foreign volunteers, according to two intelligence officials. They said al-Baghdadi has issued orders calling for 50 attacks per week, which if achieved would mark a significant escalation.
One of the officials estimated that al Qaeda now has at least 3,000 trained fighters in Iraq alone, including some 100 volunteers awaiting orders to carry out suicide missions. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to disclose intelligence information.
Iraqi citizens are losing faith in the governments ability to keep the people safe and are increasingly worried that the government has lost control of the country.
“Al Qaeda can blow up whatever number of car bombs they want whenever they choose,” said Ali Nasser, government employee from Baghdad.
“It seems like al Qaeda is running the country, not the government in Baghdad,” she added.