The Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda is in the midst of a “revival” as a regional terrorist movement, a counter-terrorism analyst at a U.S. think tank said.
Jordanian authorities in October detained 11 suspected terrorists allegedly trained by al-Qaeda in Iraq, who were said to be working on a plot to “bring Amman to its knees,” The Washington Post reported.
A Jordanian government official told the U.S. newspaper, on condition of anonymity, that a series of coordinated attacks involving car bombs and machine-gun attacks were meant to “kill as many (people) as possible.”
Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst who studies terrorism at the Brookings Institution, told the newspaper that the Jordanian plot was a sign of an evolving al-Qaeda in Iraq.
“What we’re now seeing is al-Qaeda in Iraq’s revival, not only as a movement in that country but as a regional movement,” he said.
Some of those alleged terrorists thought to be linked to the foiled plot were said to be trained in Syria.
U.S. combat forces left Iraq in December 2011. A quarterly report by U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen said the number of violent attacks in Iraq is up to levels not seen in more than two years.
Bowen said groups like al-Qaeda in Iraq were gaining strength because the country lacked the intelligence capabilities to detect and prevent attacks organized by militant groups.