Bush Warns Iraq Violence May Grow

President George W. Bush Makes Statement On The War On Terror CBS

Declaring that Americans need to know about the gains being made in Iraq, President Bush on Wednesday again predicted victory there, but he warned that terrorists would step up their attacks in advance of next month's vote on a new constitution, reports CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.

"They can't stand elections. The thought of people voting is an anathema to them," Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush's remarks in the Rose Garden came a day after Iraqi and U.S. forces announced they had killed Abdullah Abu Azzam, the No. 2 al Qaeda leader in Iraq, during a weekend raid in Baghdad.

"This guy's a brutal killer," Mr. Bush said.

Al Qaeda in Iraq issued an Internet statement denying that Abu Azzam was its deputy leader, calling him "one of al Qaeda's many soldiers" and "the leader of one its battalions operating in Baghdad." The U.S.-led coalition, however, called Abu Azzam the mastermind of an escalation in suicide bombings that have killed nearly 700 people in Baghdad since April.

"We can expect they'll do everything in their power to try to stop the march of freedom," Mr. Bush said. "And our troops are ready for it."

The president spoke following a meeting with Gen. George Casey, the top commander in Iraq, and Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. Central Command. He said he has dispatched the two generals to Capitol Hill to brief members on the war on terrorism and operations in Iraq.

"The support of Congress for our troops and our mission is important and Americans need to know about the gains we have made in recent weeks and months, they need to know the way we're adapting our tactics, and the way we're changing our strategies to meet the needs on the ground," Mr. Bush said.

The president cited as evidence of the progress he wants lawmakers — and Americans — to see, the killing of the al Qaeda leader, the increasing numbers of Iraqi troops capable of guarding cities and the closing off of a main route for foreign terrorists coming into Iraq from Syria.

But the president's remarks also came on a day when a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside an Iraqi army recruiting center, killing at least six people and wounding 30, in Tal Afar, an area where U.S. and Iraqi forces routed militants in a major offensive two weeks ago. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for the blast.
  • Joel Roberts

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