BAGHDAD - Al-Qaida's Iraq affiliate has claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks on Shi'ite pilgrims across Iraq that killed more than 70 people in the country's worst day of violence this year, a group that monitors insurgent communications said.

The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which follows jihadist websites, said on Saturday that Al-Qaida's Islamic State of Iraq wing (ISI) claimed it carried out the bombings in Baghdad and other cities, targeting mainly Shi'ite pilgrims.

SITE said a statement issued on jihadist forums on June 15 said the ISI called the attacks the "blessed Wednesday invasion" and a "serious blow" to the enemy's security.

Iraq's al-Qaida affiliate was weakened by its long war with US and Iraqi security forces, but since the last American troops left in December, the group and Sunni Islamist insurgents have carried out a major attack about once a month this year.

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