US military: Recent Iraq attacks don't represent rising trend in violence

A rash of deadly bombings blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq does not represent an upward trend in overall violence, which has plummeted around the country in recent months for a variety or reasons. US Navy Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the military spokesman, said a wave of horrific incidents, including a single attack on Thursday that killed 68 people in Baghdad, had to be placed in this perspective. You have to "look historically at what has happened over the last year to really put in perspective a one week or two weeks worth of activity inside Baghdad," Smith said. "On any given day, al-Qaida in Iraq and other extremist groups are still very much disposed toward handing out violence indiscriminately," Smith said, adding that "I would not look at the last few weeks as an increase or trend" toward rising violence.