(BAGHDAD) — An al Qaeda group is boasting that it was responsible for Monday’s series of coordinated bombings and shoot-outs in Iraq that claimed at least 115 lives.
Many more people were wounded in the attacks mainly centered in Baghdad and north of the capital that targeted Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.
While suspicion fell on the Islamic State of Iraq, the group waited more than a day to verify on extremist websites that it was behind the carnage believed to be the deadliest day in Iraq in over two years.
The Islamic State of Iraq also confirmed that it carried out the offensive as per the instructions of its leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, who said that al Qaeda would begin to take back parts of the country it ceded to coalition forces before the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq in late 2011.
Many believe that the terrorist group is exploiting the current political unrest in Iraq as Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been accused by Sunnis and Kurds of trying to marginalize them by consolidating power.
There is also criticism of the Obama administration in the U.S. for not leaving behind some American forces to help Iraqi army and police now solely in charge of maintaining their country’s security.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Lauren del Valle, CNN