Al-Qa'ida claims Iraq bombs and promises more

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Al-Qa'ida's umbrella group in Iraq yesterday claimed responsibility for co-ordinated Baghdad bombings that killed 127 people and wounded more than 500 this week. It warned of more bombing strikes to come against the Iraqi government.

The group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, said in a statement posted on the internet that the attacks in the Iraqi capital targeted the "bastions of evil and dens of apostates".

It also warned that the group is "determined to uproot the pillars of this government" in Iraq, and said "the list of targets has no end". The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a website which is commonly used for messages from Islamic militants. The blasts on Tuesday were the third major strike against government sites in the Iraqi capital since August, raising serious questions about the abilities of Iraqi security forces ahead of next's year national elections and the withdrawal of US combat troops.

Al-Qa'ida's claim gave renewed emphasis to US military warnings that insurgents were likely to continue high-profile attacks in an attempt to destabilize the Iraqi government in advance of the 7 March parliamentary elections.

Iraq has claimed al-Qa'ida and loyalists of Saddam Hussein's Baath party operating from Syria were behind the strikes in August and October, as well as the most recent bombings. Relations between the two countries soured after Baghdad accused Syria of harbouring senior Baathists who masterminded the attacks. Syria has denied it.