29 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush has warned of an increase in violence in Iraq, while defending his administration's handling of the war.
Bush, speaking late on 28 September, said insurgents are expected to increase attacks as Iraq prepares for a 15 October national referendum on a draft constitution and the formation of a new government in December.
Bush also said Iraqi and U.S. forces are having success in the war. As an example, he cited the recent killing of leading insurgent Abdullah Abu Azzam.
"Our strategy is clear in Iraq," Bush said. "We are hunting down high-value targets like Azzam and [suspected Al-Qaeda leader Abu Mu'sab al-]Zarqawi. We are coordinating aggressive counter-terrorism operations in the areas where the terrorists are concentrated. We are constantly adapting our tactics to the changing tactics of the terrorists."
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has issued an Internet statement denying the U.S. claim that Azzam was its deputy leader.
Hours before Bush spoke, a female suicide bomber killed herself and at least five others outside an army recruitment center. The attack in the northern city of Tal Afar was the first known case of a woman carrying out a suicide bombing in Iraq.
(Reuters/AFP/AP/dpa)For RFE/RL's full coverage of developments in Iraq, see "The New Iraq"