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Tags: Qaida | Iraq | bombings | Baghdad

Al-Qaida Claims Iraq Hotel Bombings

Wednesday, 27 January 2010 10:50 AM EST

An Al-Qaida group, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility Wednesday for three bomb attacks on Baghdad hotels this week that killed at least 36 people, the SITE monitoring group said.

"The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the Al-Qaida front in Iraq, claimed the 1/25 coordinated suicide bombing attack that struck at three Baghdad hotels," the US monitoring group said.

The claim, which could not be immediately authenticated, was made in a "communique issued on jihadist forums" on Wednesday, according to SITE Intelligence Group.

Three huge and apparently coordinated minibus bombs targeted hotels used by foreigners in Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 36 people and wounding 71 less than six weeks before a general election.

"The group declared the attack to be the 'fourth wave' of its 'Invasion of the Captive' campaign which is concentrated in Baghdad and began on August 19, 2009 with three suicide bombings and mortar strikes that killed over 100 people and wounded at least 565," the report said.

Nearly 400 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded last year in coordinated vehicle bombings at government buildings, including the ministries of finance, foreign affairs and justice in August, October and December.

The claim of responsibility came a day after the US military top general in Iraq said that Al-Qaeda could have been behind the attacks on the hotels which are used by foreigners.

"We don't have proof yet but I believe this was Al-Qaeda," General Ray Odierno told reporters in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Odierno said US forces were immediately called on by Iraqi security forces to help investigate evidence at the scenes of Monday's attacks on the Sheraton, Babylon and Hamra hotels.

The US-backed investigation needed more time to complete its findings, he said, but added the hotel bombings signalled insurgents were becoming more "creative" and using new tactics.

"They are doing a lot less attacks but they are trying to get the biggest outcome," he said. "They are trying to get the most attention they can, do the most damage they can so that people question the government.

According to Odierno, at least two of Monday's attacks involved gunmen in a first car shooting to kill security guards before a second driver detonated his bomb-laden vehicle.

"What happened was there was two cars," he said. "The first car came in with small arms fire, followed by the suicide bomber. We have not seen that before."

"It was reported as a new tactic, although we had some intel (intelligence information) that they were going to try to conduct some of these attacks under the cover of small arms fire. We've had that for about a month."

On Tuesday a suicide attacker blew up his car while racing it at Iraq's forensics headquarters in Baghdad, killing 18 people, wounding 80 others and destroying the building in the central neighbourhood of Karrada.

Iraqi politicians and US forces have warned of rising violence ahead of the March 7 vote, the second parliamentary ballot since the 2003 US-led invasion ousted Saddam but ushered in a deadly and long-lasting insurgency.

The election is seen as a crucial step towards consolidating Iraq's democracy and securing a complete US military exit by the end of 2011, as planned.

"I expect there will be other attempts between now and March 7 to conduct other high-profile attacks," Odierno said on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

An Al-Qaida group, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility Wednesday for three bomb attacks on Baghdad hotels this week that killed at least 36 people, the SITE monitoring group said.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 10:50 AM
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