A wave of bombings and shootings has swept Iraq, killing at least 50 people and raising fears that al-Qaida had launched a promised new offensive. The US military acknowledged that violence was on the upswing and blamed it on the terror movement.
Also Wednesday came the announcement that Iraqi and American troops raided the Iraqi military academy the day before and arrested cadets and instructors allegedly linked to the kidnap-slaying of the former superintendent and the abduction of his replacement, who was later freed.
Police reported at least six car bombings around the country Wednesday, an increase over the pattern of attacks in recent weeks, though U.S. officials insisted that violence was still below levels of last year.
Wednesday's deadliest attack occurred when a suicide driver detonated an explosives-laden truck close to the home of a Sunni Arab tribal leader near Sinjar, 390 kilometers (240 miles) northwest of Baghdad.