Last updated: 21 September, 2011

Al Qaeda claims coordinated Iraq attacks

Al-Qaeda’s front group in Iraq on Wednesday claimed much of a spate of nationwide violence a month ago that left 74 people dead in the country’s bloodiest day in more than a year.

The statement from the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was posted on the Honein jihadist forum, claiming a series of attacks on August 15. Violence on that day in Iraq took place in 18 cities and also wounded more than 300 people.

The group took responsibility for dual bombings in the southern city of Kut which left 40 people dead, as well as attacks against two police stations in and around the Shiite shrine cities of Karbala and Najaf.

It also said it was behind the assassination of seven anti-Qaeda militiamen in the town of Yusifiyah, and two other attacks against Iraqi security forces.

The surge of violence led to the highest single-day death toll in Iraq since May 2010, and later in August, the ISI threatened a campaign of 100 attacks to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden in a US special forces raid in Pakistan nearly four months ago.

Also in the Honein statement on Wednesday, the ISI claimed responsibility for a car bomb against a mosque in the southern port city of Basra as worshippers were leaving on August 25.

Violence is down across Iraq from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. A total of 259 people were killed in violence in Iraq in July, according to official figures, the second-highest figure in 2011.