Wednesday, March 20, 2013
BAGHDAD — An al-Qaida in Iraq front group claimed responsibility today for bloody attacks that killed 65 people across the country a day earlier, underscoring the terror group’s potency a decade after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
In a statement posted on a militant website, the Islamic State of Iraq said it unleashed the car bombs and other explosions to avenge the executions and “massacres” of convicted Sunni inmates held in Iraqi prisons.
Most of the nearly 20 attacks on Tuesday targeted Shiite areas in Baghdad. In addition to those killed, more than 200 were wounded, officials said, demonstrating in stark terms how dangerously divided Iraq remains more than a year after American troops withdrew. The al-Qaida statement warned the Shiite-led government to stop executing Sunni prisoners or “expect more bad events ... and seas of blood.”
“What has reached you on Tuesday was the first drop of rain, and a first phase ... that will be followed by more revenge,” it said.