By Carlo Muñoz - 08/12/13 06:20 PM EDT
The same day as the bombings in Balad and Muqdadiya, AQI leaders said the attacks were just a sampling of the "high price" Iraqi security forces will pay for its efforts to crack down on the terror cell.
"They should watch their footsteps and stop the detention campaigns and cease harming the Sunni clans, and ... expect more of what will harm them and what will bring them to their senses," according to the statement.
The attacks drew quick condemnation from Washington and prompted Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to declare it is now facing an "open war" against al Qaeda extremists in the country.
Despite the White House's recent focus on al Qaeda's Yemeni terror cell, al Qaeda's Iraq affiliate has been the source of repeated attacks against government and civilian targets ever since the U.S. withdrawal from the country in 2011.
The attacks, targeted mostly at the country's Shiite majority, are an attempt to reignite the rash of sectarian violence that plagued Iraq during the toughest days of the American war there.
Despite the lack of a bilateral security agreement to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after the war, al Qaeda's resurgence in the country could open the door to increased U.S. counterterrorism aid to Iraq.
"The United States is prepared to work closely with the Iraqi government to confront [this] threat," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement after the Eid attacks.
American military leaders and diplomats are expected to discuss the range of possible U.S. support for the country during Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari's upcoming visit to Washington.
"The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq and the international community," Psaki said.
Iraqi intelligence officials have already reached out to CIA and U.S. intelligence agencies to begin armed drones strikes along the country's volatile border with Syria as the civil war in that country continues to spill over into neighboring nations.
Baghdad has informally inquired about having U.S. drones take out targets along the Syrian border, but no formal request had been made to the CIA or the Defense Department.