BAGHDAD - Al-Qaida in Iraq shifted its attack strategy from U.S.-led forces to local neighborhood security forces affiliated with tribal leaders, captured documents say.
The U.S. military found al-Qaida documents in early January that called for increased attacks against the group the Iraqi government calls Sons of Iraq. The al-Qaida documents refer to the group as its "most dangerous enemy."
The Sons of Iraq are associated with the Sunni-led Anbar Awakening movement that developed a home-grown security response against insurgents. The forces have moved from a loose coordination of concerned citizens to a more formalized security unit.
There were more than 100 attacks against the group in January, up from 50 in December. But the U.S. military says that while half of the December attacks were fatal, 35 percent of the attacks in January were deadly.
The tribal leaders of the 90,000-member security force were targets of assassination but al-Qaida moved to sweeping attacks on rank-and-file members, USA Today said Wednesday.
The group is roughly 80 percent Sunni and members receive about $350 a month from the U.S. military.
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