Iraqi al-Qaida claims country-wide attacks

February 24, 2012 15:57


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BAGHDAD - Al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for a wave of coordinated attacks that mainly targeted police forces in Shi'ite areas and killed at least 60 people across the country on Thursday.

In a statement seen on Islamist websites on Friday, the group said it carried out the attacks in revenge for what it called a "torture and liquidation campaign that Sunni women and men are being subjected to in Baghdad's prisons and other areas".Thursday's attacks hit at least 14 cities and towns across Iraq, highlighting the threat al-Qaida and other militant groups continue to pose to security forces after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in mid-December.

Thursday's violence, along with a suicide car bombing outside a Baghdad police academy the week before, broke weeks of relative calm as Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Sunni politicians sought to resolve a political crisis that stoked sectarian tensions.

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