News Column

Al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Baghdad Bombings

March 20, 2013

A group linked to al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Wednesday for a series of bombings that left 61 dead in Iraq and warned of further attacks.

The Islamic State of Iraq said that Tuesday's attacks were aimed at avenging what the group called the government's execution of Sunni Muslim detainees.

"What happened on Tuesday was just the beginning and the first stage God willing," the group added in a statement posted on Jihadist websites.

The bombings, targeting mainly Shiite areas, were carried out on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Iraq has witnessed near-daily attacks since US troops withdrew in December 2011, raising fears of a return to the sectarian tensions that drove the country to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

The violence comes amid a festering crisis between the Shiite-led government and the country's once-dominant Sunni minority.

Thousands of Sunni protesters have been holding protests for the past three months to demand that Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki repeal laws they claim target Sunnis.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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