Al-Qa'ida in Iraq claims it was behind deadly blasts


An al-Qa'ida front group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks that rocked Baghdad last Thursday and killed 69 people.

In an online statement issued late yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq said the assaults were meant to support Sunnis in prisons and in memory of those who were executed.

The co-ordinated attacks targeted markets, grocery stores, cafes and government buildings in a dozen mostly Shiite neighbourhoods.

They coincided with a government crisis that has already strained ties between Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point.

They were the first major attacks since US troops completed a full withdrawal from Iraq this month.