25 April Iraq Update

Storm of Violence in Iraq Strains Its Security Forces - Steven Lee Meyers and Sam Dagher, New York Times. A deadly outburst of violence appears to be overwhelming Iraq's police and military forces as American troops hand over greater control of cities across the country to them. On Friday, twin suicide bombings killed at least 60 people outside Baghdad's most revered Shiite shrine, pushing the death toll in one 24-hour period to nearly 150.

Bombers Strike Outside Baghdad Mosque - Charles Levinson, Wall Street Journal. A wave of attacks targeting Shiites in Iraq continued Friday as two suicide bombings struck outside the holiest Shiite mosque in Baghdad. The bombings killed at least 71 people according to reports Saturday. The attacks came a day after three bombings -- one in Baghdad and two in Diyala province -- left about 80 people dead and capped one of the bloodiest 24-hour periods in more than a year. Since Thursday afternoon, at least 140 people have died and hundreds more have been wounded in five attacks, all but one targeting Shiite holy sites, pilgrims, or predominantly Shiite neighborhoods.

Secretary of State Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq - Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton flew to Iraq on Saturday, stressing the Obama administration's commitment to the country as a series of horrific suicide bombings fanned fears about its precarious stability.

Clinton, in Iraq, Blames 'Rejectionists' for Violence - Mark Landler, New York Times. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived here Saturday morning for a one-day visit, delivering an American show of support for Iraq as it battles a sudden eruption of violence, in the wake of suicide bombings that killed at least 140 people and wounded several hundred more on Thursday and Friday.

In Iraq, Clinton Says Country on Right Track - Matthew Lee, Associated Press. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says this week's deadly suicide bombings in Iraq are a sign that extremists are afraid the Iraqi government is succeeding.

Could Iraq Violence Affect US Withdrawal Plan? - Gordon Lubold, Christian Science Monitor. The wave of violence in recent weeks, coming as US troops have begun preparing for withdrawal, threatens to bring Iraq back to the front burner, after months of increased security coupled with Obama's focus on Afghanistan had pushed it back. Gen. David Petraeus, formerly the top US commander in Iraq and who now oversees both the wars there and in Afghanistan, warned lawmakers Friday that despite "substantial progress" in Iraq there remain lingering concerns. Al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as other groups, continue to pose a threat, he said.

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