Iraq: US Army says rocket and mortar attacks decline
Rocket and mortar attacks in Iraq have dropped to their lowest levels in more than 21 months, the U.S. military said Monday. Last month saw 369 "indirect fire" attacks - the lowest number since February 2006. October's total was half of what it was in the same month a year ago. And it marked the third month in a row of sharply reduced insurgent activity, the military said, according to the AP.
The U.S. command issued the tallies a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said suicide attacks and other bombings in Baghdad also have declined significantly, calling it an end of sectarian violence.
A top U.S. general said he believed the decline was sustainable, as Iraqis turn away from extremists.
Total rocket and mortar attacks increased steadily from 808 in January 2007 to a peak of 1,032 in June, before dropping over the next four months, a U.S. military statement said Monday.
That drop also was seen in Baghdad, where such attacks climbed from 139 in January to 224 in June, and then went down to only 53 attacks in October, it said.
On Sunday, al-Maliki said "terrorist acts" including car bombings and other spectacular, al-Qaeda-style attacks fell by 77 percent in the capital. He called it a sign that Sunni-Shiite violence was nearly gone. "We are all realizing now that what Baghdad was seeing every day - dead bodies in the streets and morgues - is ebbing remarkably," al-Maliki told reporters.