Declared defeated many times over the past few years, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is launching yet another major surge this week, with reports of “fierce fighting” continuing today in the Diyala Province.
AQI fighters attacked an Iraqi Army helicopter, downing it and killing a soldier. Other attacks targeted police in Diyala, reportedly 11 or 12 police were killed in the fighting, which provincial officials termed a “setback” to security in the province.
AQI has shown surprising strength in its latest surge, and has been blamed for over 120 deaths over the past few days. The group issued a statement touting its latest return while promising to attack targets inside the United States.
The exact cause of the latest surge in violence from AQI is unclear, but the group has reportedly forged close ties with terror groups inside neighboring Syria which have been involved in the ongoing civil war there. This could suggest that the escalation in Syria’s war is trickling across the border.