Al Qaeda takes credit for Baghdad suicide bombings

Banner of the Islamic State of Iraq. Click to view.

The Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda’s affiliate, took credit for last weekend’s deadly dual suicide attacks in Baghdad that killed more than 155 people.

The statement was released on the Internet on Oct. 26, just one day after the suicide bombers detonated minivans laden with explosives outside the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad provincial administration building.

“Suicide bombers targeted the dens of infidelity and pillars of the rejectionist Shi’ite state in the land of the caliphate,” the statement said, according to a translation provided by Reuters.

“Among the chosen targets were the ministry of oppression known as the ministry of justice and the Baghdad provincial assembly …. The enemies only understand the language of force,” the statement continued.

In the fall of 2006, Al Qaeda formed the Islamic State of Iraq in an attempt to put a local face on its efforts to lead the insurgency. Islamist terror groups, tribes, and some elements of Iraqi insurgent groups joined the Islamic State of Iraq. Nonetheless, the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq caused divisions among insurgent groups.

The Oct. 25 suicide bombings constituted the worst attack in two years, and took place as the US is accelerating its drawdown of forces in the country.

The Iraqi government is blaming “neighboring countries,” and said the same group behind the deadly Aug. 19 suicide bombings in Baghdad was also the perpetrator of last weekend’s attacks. Iraqi has blamed Syria for harboring al Qaeda and Ba’athist operatives involved in the recent attacks.

Iraqi officials believe that the bombs used in the Oct. 25 suicide attacks were built inside the International Zone (or “Green Zone”), which was why the bombers’ vehicles were not detected at the checkpoints in the high security area.

“The two vehicles that exploded yesterday in the al-Salihiya area of Baghdad were made in a location right next to the blasts,” Iraq’s deputy interior minister Ahmad al-Khafaji told Adnkronos International.

“This is why the devices were not detected at the police checkpoints,” he added.

US surveillance balloons confirmed that minivans were used in the attack and were driven from nearby locations before striking, Reuters reported.

Iraqi forces detained eight suspected members of the bombing cell during an Oct. 26 raid in western Baghdad. The leader of the cell is thought to have been behind the Aug. 19 bombings as well.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal.

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