The Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Friday for bombings that killed at least 30 people in the capital and across the country the day before,the worst wave of violence in weeks.
A statement posted on a militant website said the rapid-fire attacks aimed to punish the Shiite-led government and all those who cooperate with it for injustices against Sunnis. The statement was signed by the Islamic State of Iraq,a Sunni militant group linked to al-Qaeda.
The attacks targeted governments security,military and administrational centers and leaders,and its followers of traitors who supported it in Baghdad and elsewhere,who were the cause in the spreading of Shiism in Sunni areas, the statement said. This foray is the beginning of what is waiting for them in the coming days,God willing,of a blessed series of attacks that has started and wont stop till God rules between us and the Shiite polytheist, it added.
The attacks came amid ongoing and largely sectarian tensions between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki,a Shiite,and political opponents who demand more power in the government. Hours after the attacks,some Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers denounced the bloodshed as a tragic but inevitable result of the Shiite-led governments attempts to sideline them and dominate politics.
Al-Qaeda said the Thursday morning wave that struck 10 cities across Iraq,killing at least 30 and wounding 117,was just the beginning of a prolonged series of attacks.
In Baghdad,12 people were killed,most of them in Shiite neighborhoods. Other targets were in northern Iraqi cities,including Samarra,where a 2006 mosque bombing touched off the worst of the insurgency; the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk,and deposed dictator Saddam Husseins hometown of Tikrit.