Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for a recent raid on the Central Bank of Iraq involving suicide bombers disguised in military uniforms who killed 18 people, Internet forums reported. A statement from the Islamic State of Iraq, Al-Qaeda front group in the country, said Sunday's attack on the central Baghdad building involved five bombers, all of whom killed themselves during the raid which lasted four and a half hours.
"Only five men armed with guns and wearing explosive vests and carrying bombs raided the security barrier of the bank," said the statement. "The building came under control after less than 30 minutes, and all the targets were accurately destroyed inside."
Most of the 18 people killed and 55 wounded before the end of the siege were bank workers, according to a toll published on Monday by Major General Qassim Atta, a spokesman for security forces in the Iraqi capital.
"The clashes with the security forces who tried to enter the building lasted four hours, until (the insurgents) ran out of ammunition" and blew themselves up, the Al-Qaeda statement said. It also denounced what it called "empty and ridiculous claims of heroism" by the Iraqi security services in attacking its fighters and arresting their leaders. "We challenge the media and the liars of the Green Zone (the heavily guarded seat of government) to show the battlefield on their satellite channels, or to record the testimony of their employees whom we captured in the building," it said.