Iraq: Al-Qaida fighters on the run from northern city of Mosul

Al-Qaida fighters and other Sunni insurgents have largely scattered from the northern city of Mosul in the face of a US-Iraqi sweep, fleeing to desert areas further south, an Iraqi commander said. He vowed the forces will not allow them to regroup. The US military said Sunday that al-Qaida in Iraq was "off-balance and on the run" but remains a very lethal threat, tempering remarks by the US ambassador a day earlier that the terror network was closer than ever to being defeated. The comments came amid a flurry of attacks in Baghdad and other areas, most likely attributable to Sunni insurgents. A roadside bomb targeted a patrol of US-allied Sunni Arab fighters near a mosque in northern Baghdad, killing one of the so-called Awakening Council members and wounding three others, a police official said. Bombings and shootings killed three people in and around the city of Baqouba, north of Baghdad, where US forces waged a fierce offensive last year to break al-Qaida domination of the city, police said. Police officials in both cities spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press. The US and Iraqi military have called Mosul the last remaining urban stronghold for al-Qaida in Iraq after successes against the terror network in Baqouba and major towns in the western province of Anbar.