The U.S. military says it expects al-Qaida in Iraq to lash out with "spectacular attacks" following U.S.-led offensives that have disrupted the group's activities.
A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Brigadier General Kevin Bergner Wednesday said 26 leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq were killed or captured during May and June. But he said the group is still a main security threat and he predicts it will stage attacks to reassert itself.
Meanwhile in Washington, Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine became the latest Republican lawmaker to call for a change in President Bush's strategy in Iraq. Snowe is co-sponsoring a bill that calls for a reduction of American troops in Iraq to begin in 120 days and a withdrawal by April 2008.
The Senate's top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he hopes the growing Republican opposition to the war will force a change in strategy in Iraq.
Other Republicans who have called on the president to change his war strategy include Richard Lugar, George Voinovich and Pete Domenici.
In violence in Iraq, the U.S. military said gunmen killed 11 people Wednesday by locking them inside a house and then blowing it up. A U.S. spokesman said the attack in Garma, west of Baghdad, may have been an act of revenge against the owner of the house, who is involved with the local security forces.
Also Wednesday, Iraq's Interior Ministry said security forces seized 200 suicide bomb belts from a truck that entered the country from Syria.
In raids Wednesday targeting al-Qaida in Iraq, the U.S. military said coalition forces killed two terrorists and detained 20 suspects. The military also said a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in the town of Sherween has killed 20 terrorists since Tuesday.