Iraq's prime minister said Wednesday that he is more confident than ever his government will defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Speaking a day after nearly 60 people were killed in bombings blamed on the group, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraq's leaders were "determined to achieve victory against terrorism."

Al-Maliki was speaking to lawmakers at the European Parliament during a visit to EU headquarters in which he is pushing for closer ties with the 27-nation bloc.

"We are today more confident than any time before that we are close to the point where we can declare victory against Al Qaeda ... and its allies," al-Maliki said.

On Tuesday, bombings blamed on Al Qaeda in Iraq tore through market areas in Baghdad and outside the capital, killing nearly 60 people. The bloodshed — in four cities as far north as Mosul and as far west as Ramadi — struck directly at U.S. claims that the Sunni insurgency is waning and being replaced by Shiite militia violence as a major threat.