Everybody loves a parade.
From AKI :
Baghdad, 3 August (AKI) – Two months after US and Iraqi troops announced they had routed al-Qaeda affiliated militants in the city of Baquba, photographs have appeared on the Internet suggesting the Islamists continue to operate in the area.
The photographs purport to show a parade by the ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ – the monicker used by the al-Qaeda militants – through the mostly Sunni city which lies some 50 kilometres north of Baghdad.
The June operation involving US troops, Iraqi army units and local tribesmen grouped together in the ‘1920 Brigades’ was hailed by some observers as a watershed in the Iraqi conflict because for the first time local Sunni tribesmen had fought alongside the American-led forces against Islamist militants.
Some 10,000 US troops were involved in the operation which began on 18 June and took place throughout the province of Diyala in which Baquba is situated.
Hundreds of militants were reportedly killed while many more were forced to flee the city.
The photographs posted on Islamic sites this week show masked gunmen brandishing assault rifles and waving flags while riding in cars and on the back of several pick-up trucks. Some civilian bystanders including teen-age boys appear to be cheering them on.
According to the captions accompanying the images the Islamic state of Iraq militants are parading through Baquba which they have been able to re-infiltrate.