BAGHDAD — On the same day that military spokesmen gave a rare briefing in Baghdad to announce a continued drop in overall violence, insurgents killed at least 22 people in eight attacks in Mosul and Fallujah on Sunday, using roadside bombs, drive-by shootings, suicide bombers and execution-style killings, police officials said.
One of the dead was a 2-month-old baby whose house in Fallujah was hit by a hand grenade, which also wounded his parents and another child, a police official said.
In Mosul, a group of insurgents surrounded the home of two officers of the National Police, shot it up, then entered it and killed them, said a police official at the Nineveh province operations center.
Baghdad was calm, however, after a series of suicide bombings over the past 90 days.
At a briefing in the new and seldom-used media center in Camp Prosperity, the main U.S. base in central Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, spokesman for the Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, and Maj. Gen. David Perkins, top spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, both emphasized that the recent increase in spectacular attacks nonetheless runs contrary to the overall trend, which they described as fewer and less effective attacks.
"We have not witnessed a direct confrontation since 2007 on Iraqi security forces," Atta said. He put the current frequency of attacks at 20 to 25 a week, compared with 450 a week at the height of the violence in 2007.
Perkins, while acknowledging the surge in violence beginning in April, also said that May so far had half as many attacks. "From a macro point of view, the attacks trend down," he said.
The deadliest attack Sunday came in the northern city of Mosul, one of the few remaining strongholds of al-Qaida in Mesopotamia, a largely Iraqi group with some foreign leadership.
A suicide bomber in a van packed with explosives appeared to be aiming at an American patrol but detonated the bomb after the patrol had moved out of range, the police official said. The blast, in the Dawasa Kharij neighborhood, killed eight people and wounded 26, some of them critically.