Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Pentagon: Qaida ally is top suspect in Algeria attack Iraq attacks kill at least 25
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon on Tuesday stopped short of saying al-Qaida's North Africa affiliate is definitely to blame for the deadly Algeria terrorist attack, but it said there is good reason to believe the group had a leading role.
"When it comes to terrorist attacks of this sort in North Africa, AQIM has to be at the top of the list of suspects, I'll put it that way," said Pentagon press secretary George Little, referring to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
The White House said the Obama administration is working with the Algerian government to learn more about what happened and did not echo concerns expressed by the British defense minister over the Algerian government's collaboration.
Little told reporters there are "strong indications" that AQIM, "had a hand" in the assault on an Algerian natural gas plant that left dozens of hostages and militants dead, but he would not be more specific.
The State Department has said three U.S. citizens were killed in last week's hostage standoff, while seven Americans made it out safely.
BAGHDAD -- A series of attacks left at least 25 Iraqis dead on Tuesday, in the latest outbreak of violence amid a protracted political crisis.
In addition, a hostage was killed with his two kidnappers in a police operation west of Samarra, a police source said. It was unclear whether the hostage, the cousin of a member of Parliament, was killed by the kidnappers or the police.
Since last month, the country has witnessed almost daily episodes of sectarian-related violence at a time of increasing political strife. Protests, led mostly by Sunnis, that broke out against the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have spread from Anbar province to other areas of the country.
The attacks on Tuesday included a suicide bomber's blowing himself up at a military checkpoint in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and three civilians and wounding at least 20 people, the police said. Also, a bomb in a parked car exploded in the Baghdad neighborhood of Shula, where Shiites are a majority, killing five people and wounding 15.