Al-Qaida claims Iraq's worst violence in month
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's al-Qaida branch claimed responsibility Friday for attacks that killed dozens in the capital and across the country the day before, the worst wave of violence in weeks.
The sudden spike dashed hopes that Iraq was calming and raised fears of escalating sectarian violence in the turmoil following the U.S. military pullout last December.
Lawmakers representing Iraq's minorities denounced the bloodshed as a tragic but inevitable result of the Shiite-led government's attempts to sideline them and dominate Iraqi politics.
The Islamic State of Iraq, as al-Qaida in Iraq calls itself, said it targeted security forces and government officials in "response to the campaign of detaining, torture, embargo and confiscation of lands of Sunni people, especially in Baghdad and its outskirts."
The claim was posted on militant websites.
Al-Qaida 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.
Al-Qaida and other Sunni militant groups have stepped up attacks on Shiites since the U.S. pullout, raising concern of a new surge in sectarian violence.
A lull since mid-March had led many to hope Iraq had turned a corner away from widespread violence. That hope collapsed Thursday as at least 14 bombs and mortar shells exploded across Iraq.
Six of the bombings struck at security forces and government officials, frequent targets for insurgents.
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 Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 101218Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15357OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant tours Moore, meets with residents
- 13402Oklahoma tornadoes: ‘All I could do was sit there and hold her'
- 8724Line of storms brings flash floods to Oklahoma City area
- 8110How to help tornado victims
- 8098Oklahoma tornadoes: Love for Oklahoma generates big donation
- 8041Oklahoma tornadoes: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford leading aid effort