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BAGHDAD – A flurry of attacks blamed on al-Qaida defied claims by the U.S. and Iraq that they dealt the militants a severe blow by killing their two leaders last month.
Analysts say the violence — most of it against Shiite targets — is likely an attempt to re-ignite sectarian warfare, a tactic that could work if Sunnis lose faith in the political process and Iraqis once again turn to militias to protect them if the government cannot.
A combination of car bombs, suicide blasts and shootings across 10 cities from the north to the south convulsed Iraq Monday and killed 119 people, the deadliest day this year. Two more bombs killed five people Tuesday in a Baghdad neighborhood that was once a stronghold of al-Qaida-linked insurgents.
The attacks followed a string of victories announced by the government against the insurgents. In April, the two top leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq were killed in a U.S.-Iraqi raid and dozens of other operatives were rolled up around the country, some even forced to make televised confessions.