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Al Qaeda affiliate says behind two Iraq attacks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BAGHDAD, (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate claimed responsibility for two separate attacks in Iraq which killed at least 30 people in June, a group that monitors insurgent communications said.

The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) said it was behind a twin bomb attack on June 21 in which at least 25 people were killed at a checkpoint outside the Diwaniya governor’s house, the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group said.

The umbrella group for al Qaeda-linked insurgents also claimed responsibility for a June 13 suicide bombing at a police unit in Basra in a statement published on jihadist websites on Tuesday, according to SITE.

Five people were killed and 15 wounded in the attack in Iraq’s southern oil city.

Al Qaeda has been strategically weakened by the deaths of leaders, and both its numbers and the territory in which it can manoeuvre have shrunk since 2006-07.

But the group still carries out attacks aimed at grabbing attention and rattling the population at a time when Iraqi leaders are debating whether to ask the United States to leave some troops beyond December.

Overall violence in Iraq has sharply declined since the height of sectarian warfare in 2006-7, but bombings and killings remain a daily occurrence more than eight years after the U.S.-led invasion.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey said on Saturday al Qaeda’s network in northern Iraq was the largest remaining cell of the group in the world.