Baghdad attacks linked to al-Qaeda

The al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq network has once again claimed responsibility for bomb attacks that killed 65 people and injured over 200 others in the capital, Baghdad.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the terrorist group claimed responsibility for at least 20 bomb explosions and multiple shooting attacks carried out in mainly Shia-populated neighborhoods of Baghdad on March 19.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants often target civilians and Iraqi government officials in an attempt to destabilize the country.

On March 17, the terrorist network also claimed responsibility for the March 14 attack on the Iraqi Justice Ministry in the capital that claimed the lives of nearly 20 people and injured some 30 others.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a shadowy group that was once allegedly led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was reportedly killed in June 2006.

According to the US government and military officials, after Zarqawi’s death, the group’s leadership fell to Ayyub al-Masri, who was killed, along with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi — another leader of the group — in a joint operation by Iraqi and US troops in Salahuddin Province in April 2010.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in the country since the US-led invasion in March 2003.