US President George W Bush brought a message of support in person to Iraq’s new leadership in an unannounced flying visit to Baghdad. He told Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki: the future of Iraq is “in your hands” Bush also visited US troops buoyed by recent successes, primarily the killing of Al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death gave a massive boost to the Bush administration with domestic support for the war in Iraq remaining low and pressure growing for troop withdrawals. But in a defiant message on a website Al Qaeda’s new leader in the country threatened revenge against US troops and more bloodshed.
There has been early evidence the group’s campaign of violence will continue. Fourteen people were killed in a wave of bombings in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.