Resurgent al-Qaeda in Iraq's Target: 'Heart' of US

Back from brink, al-Qaeda in Iraq far more dangerous
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2012 3:12 AM CDT
Updated Jul 26, 2012 3:22 AM CDT
Resurgent al-Qaeda in Iraq Vows to Strike at 'US Heart'
National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen testifies on Capitol Hill last year. He also spoke yesterday before the House Homeland Security Committee about the al-Qaeda in Iraq threat.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Al-Qaeda in Iraq killed scores of people with its coordinated bombings and shootings around Iraq early this week, but the militant group has bigger ambitions than just local terror attacks. It's now aiming for the "heart" of the US, reports the Los Angeles Times. "You will soon witness how attacks will resound in the heart of your land, because our war with you has now started," warned the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq in a recent audio recording. Although al-Qaeda in Iraq was devastated five years ago, since then it has regrouped and expanded, thanks to the upheaval in Syria and new funding from wealthy donors in the region.

"You can say pretty categorically that al-Qaeda in Iraq appears to be strengthening from where it was two years ago," said an al-Qaeda expert from the Rand Corp., noting "there are networks and recruiting efforts in the US and Canada." US officials downplayed the chances of the terrorist group conducting a successful attack in the US, but there have been several arrests in Canada and America over the past two years of people connected to al-Qaeda in Iraq. Recent attacks and the US arrests show the "potential threat posed to the US" from al-Qaeda in Iraq, said the director of the National Counterterrorism Center in testimony before the House yesterday. (Read more al-Qaeda in Iraq stories.)

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