An al-Qaida group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in Baghdad last week, which left 70 dead and hundreds more injured.
The U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist web-traffic, first reported the news Tuesday. They said the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group for al-Qaida-linked insurgents, posted that they were responsible for the attacks on Islamist websites Monday, according to Reuters.
The insurgents said the attacks were carried out in support of Sunni prisoners. The site specifically named targets of the attack and their purpose.
“The operations were distributed between targeting security headquarters, military patrols … and eliminating the heads of unbelief from amongst the security, military and administration leaders of the Green Zone (Iraqi) government,” the website said.
*The statements focused on vengeful rage directed towards Iraq’s Shiite-dominated leadership, which Sunni insurgents have resisted since 2003, when Sadam Hussein was removed from power.
“The series of special invasions was launched … to support the weak Sunnis in the prisons of the apostates and to retaliate for the captives who were executed,” said a statement from Pakistani government organization ISI, according to The Associated Press.
The al-Qaida group also threatened that they know where and when to strike. Al-Qaida groups are focused on using the current political tensions to reignite sectarian warfare now that they don’t have to worry about U.S. troops, according to Baghdad military spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Quassim al-Moussawi.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have expressed concerns of a reemergence of Sunni and Shiite militants and an increase in violence after U.S. withdrawal from the country.
In light of growing tensions within the Iraqi government, Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called for the arrest of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. He also requested that Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be fired by parliament.
Hashemi has been charged with running death squads, which targeted Iraq government and security officials. He says the charges, which he denies, are fabricated and politically motivated.