Middle East

Al Qaeda local wing says responsible for Iraq bombings

Residents look on as they stand at the site of a bomb blast in the town of Taji, about 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, September 30, 2012. REUTERS/Saad Shalash

ABU DHABI: Al Qaeda's Iraqi wing, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility on Friday for coordinated bomb attacks that killed more than 32 people across the country last Sunday.

In a message posted on a website used by Islamist groups around the world, the group said it had launched the attacks on several targets as part of its campaign against the government.

Al Qaeda's local wing said it aimed to hit government offices and security and military centres as part of a response to what the Iraqi government was doing to its Sunni brothers in prisons, without being specific.

The authenticity of the message could not be verified by Reuters immediately. The group said it would release more details about its operation later.

A series of bomb attacks had hit targets in the capital Baghdad and several other towns on Sunday.

Security had been tightened in Baghdad and elsewhere since dozens of inmates, including convicted members of al Qaeda, escaped from a prison in the northern city of Tikrit last Friday.

While violence in Iraq has eased since the carnage of 2006-07, Sunni Islamists still launch frequent attacks to undermine the Shi'ite-led government's claim to provide security and to prove they remain a potent threat.

Al Qaeda's Iraq wing said in June it planned a resurgence after being weakened in a sustained assault by U.S. troops and other Sunni militant groups in 2007.

The Islamic State of Iraq, alongside other Sunni Islamist groups, have carried out at least one major assault a month since the last U.S. troops left in December.





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