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Spike in Iraqi Attacks 'Disheartening,' General Says

The increase in violence in Iraq during the holy month of Ramadan is "disheartening," says Maj. Gen. William Caldwell. The military spokesman says the U.S. attempt to increase security in Baghdad has not met "overall expectations."

Insurgent attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces have soared in the past three weeks. The northern city of Mosul was hit by at least six suicide bomb attacks Thursday -- one at an Iraqi police station killed at least 13 people.

The U.S. military says there are several reasons for the recent jump in violence. Insurgents were expected to ramp up attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for instance.


In Khalis, north of Baghdad, at least 10 people were killed at an outdoor market right before Iftar, the evening meal when Muslims break their fast.

Caldwell says there was a 22 percent jump in attacks between the first three weeks of Ramadan, and the three weeks before. But he says there are other factors.

"It's no coincidence that the surge in attacks against coalition forces coincide with our increased presence on the streets in Baghdad and the run-up to the American midterm elections," Caldwell says.

"The enemy knows that killing innocent people and Americans will garner headlines and create a sense of frustration."

The death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq this October is 73. That has led to expectations that American deaths for this month may make October one of the deadliest on record for the U.S. military.


About two months ago, U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces fanned out across Baghdad under a plan to retake the streets from militias splitting up the city along sectarian lines. As Caldwell said Thursday, the operation hasn't worked.

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