BAGDHAD — An al-Qaida front group in Iraq claimed today it carried out the deadly bombings against Baghdad hotels earlier this week, boasting its suicide car bombers were able to breach extensive Iraqi security.
The same group, the Islamic State of Iraq, has claimed responsibility for three previous waves of coordinated bombings in Baghdad going back to August. The attacks have hit government offices or high-profile sites in the Iraqi capital.
In a statement posted today on a militant Web site, the al-Qaida group claimed responsibility for the triple suicide blasts on Monday that targeted three hotels favored by Western journalists and security contractors. At least 41 people were killed.
It claimed the suicide car bombers were able to get through checkpoints and bypass security barriers.
Iraqi authorities have faced an outcry over apparent security lapses and the latest attacks could increase pressure on the Shiite-led government before national elections on March 7.
The authenticity of the Islamic State of Iraq claim could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a Web site commonly used for militant messaging.
The statement said the latest attacks — which it called “a fourth thunderous wave” — seek to show that government leaders and foreigners are not safe in Baghdad. The three previous multiple bombings — in August, October and December — claimed more than 380 lives.
Following the hotel bombings, a suicide bomb attack Tuesday against Baghdad’s main crime lab killed at least 22 people. There has been no claim of responsibility for that attack so far.
The attacks are a stark counterpoint to the overall decline in violence around Iraq.
Iraqi officials, meanwhile, are investigating their use of a handheld bomb-detecting device that Britain banned for export because of questions about whether it works.
But Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi told The Associated Press that the devices will continue to be used at checkpoints while a committee looks into their effectiveness.
He says the committee is made up of representatives of the defense and interior ministries as well as electronic and explosive experts.