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Al-Qaeda to return to old Iraq strongholds

world Updated: Jul 22, 2012 19:31 IST

AP
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A man identifying himself as the leader of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq says his fighters are planning new operations to free imprisoned members and claims they're returning to areas of the country from which they retreated earlier in the conflict.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced an operation called "Breaking the Walls" in an audio posted on militant websites on Saturday.

The identity of the voice on the audio could not be independently confirmed. The recording would be al-Baghdadi's first since becoming leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in May 2010.

He urged tribal leaders to help al-Qaeda as it returns to areas from which it withdrew -- a reference to reverses the ISI suffered at the hands of US forces and allied Sunni militias in 2007 and 2008.