Al Qaeda Behind Baghdad Blasts

Associated Press + More

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

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

The coordinated attacks targeted markets, grocery stores, cafes and government buildings in a dozen mostly Shiite neighborhoods. They coincided with a government crisis that has already strained ties between Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point.

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