BAGHDAD: The Iraqi branch of al-Qaida claimed responsibility Friday for bombings earlier this week that killed at least 82 people, mostly in Shiite areas of the capital, in retaliation for the execution of Sunni prisoners by the Shiite-led government.
A statement posted on a militant website by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq, took responsibility for the deadly attacks, mainly car bombs, carried out earlier this week. The group claimed the attacks were in retaliation for the Aug. 19 execution of 17 Sunni prisoners, all but one convicted on terrorism-related charges.
Wednesday's attacks mainly targeted parking lots, outdoor markets and restaurants in Shiite districts in Baghdad during the morning rush hour.
The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on a website commonly used by jihadists and its style was consistent with earlier al-Qaida statements.
It said the tight security measures adopted by Iraqi forces failed to stop the attacks, and the group vowed to carry out more attacks against government targets.
"We will avenge the blood of our brothers," the group said.
Also Friday, police and hospital officials said five people were killed and eight wounded in attacks in Baghdad the previous night. That brought the number of people killed in Iraq just on Thursday to 29.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
The bombings were the latest in a wave of bloodshed that has swept Iraq since April, killing more than 4,000 people and worsening already strained ties between Iraq's Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government.