Some 170 killed in Iraq attacks; Al Qaeda claims credit
A dozen blasts ripped through the Iraqi capital in rapid succession Wednesday, killing at least 152 people and wounding 542. The one-day death toll was the highest in Baghdad since May 2003.
In another incident, gunmen dragged 17 people out of their homes north of Baghdad and killed them early on Wednesday, police said. According to Reuters, this incident took place in Taji. The dead included one policeman and others who worked as drivers and construction workers for the U.S. military, said a police source.
In the deadliest attack, a car bomb went off near a group of workers, who had gathered to look for work in Baghdad on Wednesday, killing some 88 people, police said.
The blast in the Shi'ite district of Kathimiya also led to the injury of over 220 people, police said. The explosion occurred at 6:30 a.m. as a number of workers had gathered before going to work on nearby construction sites, said police Maj. Musa Abdel Kerim. According to The AP, this was the deadliest attack in Iraq since Feb. 28, when a suicide car bomber targeted Shiite police and National Guard recruits in Hillah, killing 125 people.
Hours later, in the northern district of Azamiyah, gunmen opened fire on a police car, killing two top police officials and two officers. Three Iraqi troops and four policemen died when a suicide car bomber struck as rescuers arrived to the area.
One of the car bombs hit an American military convoy in eastern Baghdad, and police Capt. Maher Hamad said two American troops were injured.
Another car bomb went off alongside an Iraqi National Guard convoy in the northern Baghdad district of Shula, killing at least two people, authorities said.
Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda in Iraq said in an Internet statement that they had carried out a wave of suicide bombings in Baghdad to avenge an offensive by US and Iraqi government forces on the northern rebel town of Tal Afar.
"The conquest of revenge for the Sunni people of Tal Afar has started," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda Organization in the Land of Two Rivers said in the statement. It said its "brigades" had launched a series of attacks, led by its elite "martyrdom-seeking" brigade.