Al-Qaeda group claims Baghdad bombings

An al-Qaeda group in Iraq claimed responsibility on Wednesday for five coordinated bombings that killed 127 people in Baghdad, United States-based monitors said.

The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) issued a statement on a jihadist forum saying it carried out Tuesday’s string of car and truck bombings at ministries and courthouses in the Iraqi capital that also wounded 450 people, Site said.

The al-Qaeda statement, translated by the US monitoring group, threatened more attacks and said they were a “third-wave” after earlier deadly bombings on August 19 and October 25 that killed more than 100 people.

“The list of targets will not end, with permission from Allah, until the flag of monotheism is raised once against on the land of Baghdad and the sharia of Allah rules the land and the worshippers,” it said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sacked Baghdad’s security chief after the latest attacks, which police said were carried out by bombers backed by groups in Syria or Saudi Arabia.

Maliki’s intervention came as enraged MPs demanded answers from the country’s leaders over the blasts, which accounted for more dead than the total number killed by violence in all of November, and undermined the government’s claims of improved security ahead of March 7 elections.

Violence across Iraq dropped dramatically last month, with the fewest deaths in attacks recorded since the 2003 invasion. Official figures showed a total of 122 people were killed in November.

Both the Baghdad government and the US military have warned of a rise in attacks in the run-up to the election.

Despite Tuesday’s attacks, US forces remain on track to begin withdrawing from Iraq in large numbers next year, said Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Search for International Terrorist Entities (Site) intelligence group is a US-based organisation that monitors extremist websites.—AFP

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