The Surrender is Working: U.S. Cedes Town to 'Al Qaeda in Iraq'
Members of al-Qaeda group have retaken a strategic town, some 70 kilometers south of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, members of parliament said.
The MPs said Tuz Khormato, a predominantly Shiite town, was now in the hands of 'al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia', the group's official appellation.
The MPs gave no reason for the unexpected withdrawal of U.S. Marines from the town.
But they said the departure of U.S. troops has led to "a dangerous upsurge in insecurity" with bandits and fighters attacking travelers and vehicles on the highway to Kirkuk.
Tuz Khormato has a slight Turkmen majority. Iraqi Turkmen are predominantly Shiites.
Turkmen MPs have sent a statement to Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki's government urging him to send troops to guard the city and the highway.
The town has been the scene of devastating suicide bombings in the past. In one of them more than 100 people were killed.
Suicide bombers have even targeted the town's main Shiite Husainiya or mosque.
The statement said kidnappings had increased and the scene of headless bodies dumped on roads and the highway has returned once again.
"The tragic and horrific events in Tuz Khormato only a few days following the withdrawal of the multi-national forces (U.S. troops) is a clear indication of how ill-prepared and weak the army and security forces are," the statement said.
It said currently some of the kidnappings and crimes occur as Iraqi troops and police look on.