BAGHDAD - Al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for dozens of bombings that killed at least 52 people across the country on Tuesday in attacks aimed at undermining tighter security measures ahead of week's Arab League summit in Baghdad.
Iraq is due to host the meeting for the first time in over 20 years and the government is anxious to show it can maintain security following the withdrawal of US forces in December.
Tuesday's wide-scale explosions were the bloodiest in almost a month and were the latest attacks mainly targeting Iraqi police forces that the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) has claimed responsibility for this year.
In a statement posted on an Islamist website, the group said Tuesday's attacks - in which 30 bombs struck cities and towns across Iraq and killed at least 52 people and wounded 250 - had targeted a security clampdown ahead of the summit in Baghdad.
"In a new coordinated wave, the lions of the Sunni people simultaneously set out in Baghdad and other provinces of the Islamic state to hit the security plan announced by the foolish government in the Green Zone in preparation for the meeting of Arab tyrants in Baghdad," the statement said.