BAGHDAD – The top U.S. commander in northern Iraq warned Wednesday thatin Iraq was still capable of staging spectacular attacks despite a 50 percent drop in bombings and other violence in his region.
Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling said al-Qaida in Iraq was being pushed north by the increased numbers of U.S. troops that surged intoover the summer and fall. The insurgents are also being flushed out of Anbar province by “awakening councils” — groups of Sunni Arab tribesmen the has backed to help fight al-Qaida in Iraq and its allies.
“Many of them have transited our province” of Diyala, which has seen some of the worst, he said. “There are still some ….