BAGHDAD — The Iraqi branch of al-Qaida claimed responsibility Sunday for a wave of coordinated car bomb attacks that killed more than 50 people in Baghdad, as two new attacks killed another five in the latest outbreak of violence to hit the country.
The al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, posted a message on a militant website taking responsibility for the deadly attacks last week, mostly in Shiite areas.
The group claimed the attacks were a response to the arrest of Sunnis around the capital during a recent government security crackdown.
The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on a website commonly used by jihadists and its style was consistent with earlier al-Qaida statements.
The bombings were the latest in a wave of bloodshed that has swept Iraq since April, killing more than 4,000 people and worsening already strained ties between Iraq's Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government. More than 570 people have been killed so far in August.