Bombings across Iraq killed [at least] 17 people [and wounded 100] on Sunday, the country's deadliest day in nearly three weeks, as Al-Qaeda warned it would target judges and prosecutors, and look to free Muslim prisoners...Al-Baghdadi also threatened the U.S.: "You will see them [al Qaeda terrorists] at the heart of your country, since our war against you has just started," he said.
The latest violence comes after the country suffered a spike in unrest in June when at least 282 people were killed... Attacks remain common, especially in the area south of Baghdad, in Mosul and in Ramadi.
The violence came as Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq said in an audio message posted on jihadist forums that it would begin targeting judges and prosecutors, and appealed for the help of Sunni tribes in its quest to retake territory.
"We are starting a new stage," said the voice on the message, purportedly that of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been leader of the Islamic State of Iraq since May 2010...
Earlier this month, a truck bomb blamed on Al-Qaeda killed 25 people in a crowded market south of Baghdad.
The AP noted that most of the recent attacks bear the hallmarks of insurgents linked to al-Qaida.
Last year, President Obama was adamant in his opposition to the idea of leaving behind a residual U.S. force in Iraq while the rest of the troops came home. But many Iraqi's have expressed fears that without a residual U.S. military presense in Iraq, the security gains made in recent years could fall by the wayside.
"The country [Iraq] is still in need [of U.S.] intelligence and military capabilities," Mohammed Salam, a Sunni government employee in Baghdad, said last month [AP]. "The Iraqi government should have kept some several thousands of U.S. troops in order to help Iraq forces maintain a reasonable level of security."