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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Death of Zarqawi a Mixed Blessing?

BAGHDAD -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death raised hopes that Iraq's slide toward civil war or sectarian disintegration could be arrested. But evidence in the early days of post-al-Zarqawi Iraq indicates Shiite-Sunni violence may have moved beyond the direct control of the insurgency's leadership.

On Sunday, al-Qaida in Iraq appeared to have answered Iraqi and U.S. questions about the future plans and tactics of the organization that al-Zarqawi founded.

In an Internet statement, the group vowed "to prepare major attacks that will shake the enemy like an earthquake and rattle them out of sleep."

General George Casey, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said he took the threat seriously but suggested a surge in al-Qaida rhetoric showed the insurgency was "hurting."

Iraqi and American officials said Sunday that they planned a new security crackdown in Baghdad in response to the threats.