DUBAI, (AFP) – Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed responsibility for Sunday’s twin car bombings that killed at least 29 people and wounded 111 in Baghdad, US monitoring group SITE said on Friday.
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) said that its militants “managed to break through the heavy barriers of the army and the apostate police that had been placed in the two fortified neighbourhoods, and planted two booby-trapped cars near the two targets.”
The twin blasts struck near the Aden junction in north Baghdad and in the residential district of Mansur in the west at around 10:10 am (0710 GMT), AFP journalists and security officials said.
An interior ministry official had put the death toll at 29 — 19 at the Aden junction and 10 in Mansur.
“The detonations led to the destruction of the two headquarters… in addition to the death of tens of filthy recruits and officers,” said the ISI statement, which SITE reported was published on Jihadist forums on Thursday.
An AFP journalist said that the blast, at a National Security department office building, left a crater three metres (10 feet) in diameter.
The statement said that the second target was the mobile phone company Asiacell, which it said was being used to “pursue the mujahideen (holy fighters), combat them and spy on them.”
That attack left several bloodied bodies an the streets, with many cars burned out, two buildings destroyed and damaged nearby houses, an AFP journalist had reported.
An employee from the company who was himself wounded told AFP on Sunday that two of his colleagues were killed in the blast and more than 10 were wounded. In its statement, the group also warned that “what will come… is worse.”
Iraqi government figures suggest violence in the country has risen in recent months as the US military has withdrawn thousands of soldiers and Iraqi politicians have failed to agree on a new government six months after an inconclusive election.
July and August recorded two of the highest death tolls since 2008, according to figures released by Iraqi officials.
The latest bloodletting has sparked concern that local forces are not yet prepared to handle internal security on their own, although American commanders insist their Iraqi comrades are up to the job.
But Iraq’s top military officer has expressed doubt whether his soldiers will be ready when the last US troops are due to depart at the end of 2011, calling on them to stay until 2020.