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Al-Qaeda Claims Responsibility For Baghdad Bombings

Women mourn during a funeral for a victim who was killed in one of the December 22 bomb attacks.
The Al-Qaeda in Iraq group has claimed responsibility for a wave of bombings in Baghdad last week that killed 69 people and wounded some 200 more.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq group posted a message on the Internet that said the group knows "where and when to strike."
The statement called the attacks the "Thursday invasion" and said the bombings were meant to support the Sunni population -- "Sunnis in prison and in memory of those who were executed" -- who were victims of the "pernicious Iranian project," alluding to Iran's growing influence among the majority Shi'ite population.
The statement referred to a suicide car bombing in Baghdad's Karrada district, part of a series of attacks on markets, grocery stores, cafes, and government buildings, mostly in Shi'ite neighborhoods.
The statement warned the Islamic State of Iraq would "never stand with their hands tied."
The attacks were the first major attacks since U.S. forces completed their withdrawal earlier this month.

compiled from agency reports