Al Qaeda’s Iraqi branch claimed responsibility Sunday for a wave of bombs that killed more than 50 people in Baghdad last week, as two other attacks killed upwards of five more as violence rocked Iraq.
The Iraqi Qaeda affiliate, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, posted a message on a militant website taking responsibility for the deadly attacks last week, mostly in Shiite areas, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
The group said the attacks were in response the arrest of Sunnis around the Baghdad following a recent government security crackdown on militants.
“About half a million security members failed to prevent this huge wave of attacks in Baghdad,” the group said, according to AP.
The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. However, it was posted on a website commonly used by jihadists and its style was consistent with earlier Al Qaeda statements made in the same vein.
Last week’s bombings were the latest in a wave of violence that has swept Iraq since April, killing more than 4,000 people and worsening already strained ties between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government. More than 570 people have been killed so far in August, according to AP estimates.
Al Qaeda has pursued a relentless recruitment campaign in Iraq, hoping to target Sunnis who feel they are treated like second-class citizens by the government. Among their biggest grievances with the government, led by Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, are the stringent anti-terrorism measures they feel unfairly target their sect, and the treatment of Sunni detainees in prisons.
Also Sunday, two suicide bombers attacked a police station in the town of Jalula, 125 km northeast of Baghdad, killing three police officers and a civilian, according to Iraqi officials who spoke to AP.
Police told AP that the first suicide bomber exploded his explosive belt at a security checkpoint at the gate of the police station while the other bomber was killed by guards as he tried to sneak to inside the police station.
Police sources said that 10 other people, including six officers, were wounded in the double suicide bomb attack.
In the southeastern suburbs of Baghdad, authorities said one person was killed and six others wounded when a bomb exploded near a parking lot in Jisr Diyala area.
Medical personnel in nearby hospitals confirmed the casualty figures for all attacks, according to AP.