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Al Qaeda claims attacks on Iraq invasion anniversary
March 20, 2013 / 8:17 AM / 5 years ago

Al Qaeda claims attacks on Iraq invasion anniversary

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings and suicide attacks on Tuesday that killed around 60 people on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.

Islamic State of Iraq, the country’s al Qaeda wing, is regaining strength, invigorated by the Sunni Muslim rebellion in next door Syria and has carried out dozens of high-profile attacks since the start of the year.

“What has reached you on Tuesday is just the first drop of rain, and a first phase, for by God’s will, after this we will have our revenge,” the al Qaeda statement posted on a jihadist website said.

Car bombs and suicide blasts hit mainly Shi‘ite districts in Baghdad and other cities on Tuesday. Suicide attackers have struck nearly two times a week since January, a rate Iraq has not seen for several years.

Sunni Islamists see Iraq’s Shi‘ite-led government as oppressors of the country’s Sunni minority and target Shi‘ites to try to provoke a sectarian confrontation like the inter-communal slaughter that killed thousands in 2006-7.

A decade after U.S. and Western troops swept into Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, the OPEC country still struggles with sectarian tensions and political instability that test the fragile unity among Shi‘ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurds.

Reporting by Aseel Kami; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Alison Williams

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