By Ghassan Adnan and Asa Fitch
Another wave of explosions in the Iraqi capital killed at least 70 people on Tuesday, the latest in a surge of urban violence that has the government, beset by political crises, looking increasingly paralyzed.
Bombings almost every day over the past week in or around Baghdad have killed at least 194 people, and the political strain from the bloodshed has begun to show on U.S.-backed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s government.
Islamic State’s success in breaching cordons around the city have politicians and security forces openly trading blame for the gaps.
The attacks represent a shift in strategy amid recent losses by the group in Anbar province, which borders Baghdad. Dislodged from the cities of Ramadi and Hit and under pressure on the front lines, militants have stepped up suicide bombings in populated areas they don’t control.
Despite the growing threat to the capital, the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State is urging Iraq not to divert any forces from the front lines, according to coalition spokesman Col. Steve Warren.
“If you want to stop these bombs, you have to keep forces in the field,” to defeat Islamic State there, he said. He added that the Iraqi government already had almost half its military deployed in Baghdad.
U.S. officials have noted the city couldn’t be made completely secure even when thousands of U.S. troops were deployed there. They describe the new string of attacks as opportunistic attempts by Islamic State to sow discord in Baghdad and gain international attention.
“We are seeing them use more traditional terror tactics to strike out in part because they’re weaker,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said. “They don’t have the same quasi-military capabilities that they once had.”
Iraqi officials and some analysts say the Sunni extremists have been aided by the poor training of Iraqi security forces as well as bad equipment, faulty intelligence and a lack of coordination among the agencies that police the city.
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