Al-Qaeda in Iraq is down 75%, one Baghdad official said today—but US Gen. David Petraeus maintained that al-Qaeda is still “the most significant challenge" facing the country. Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf attributed the alleged al-Qaeda cut to beefed Iraq security, armed Sunni fighters, and the recent US troop surge.
Meanwhile, Iraq's army reported that two key militants connected to al-Qaeda were collared yesterday. Khalaf said such arrests are cornering extremist groups in Iraq. "Their activity is now limited to certain places north of Baghdad," Khalaf said. "We're working on pursuing those groups, that is the coming fight."