Al-Qaida claims Iraq bombs that killed at least 50

BAGHDAD (AP) — Al-Qaida’s branch in Iraq says it carried out a series of bombings that killed at least 50 people, mostly in Shiite areas across the capital in retaliation for the recent arrests made against Sunnis.

In a statement posted late Saturday, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the al-Qaida affiliate in Iraq, took responsibility for the bombings last week, mainly car bombs targeting commercial areas.

The authenticity of the statement could not be independently confirmed. It was posted on a website commonly used by jihadists and its style was consistent with earlier al-Qaida statements.

The bombings were the latest episode in a wave of bloodshed that has swept Iraq since April, killing more than 4,000 people and worsening the already strained ties between Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government.

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