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Originally published Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 4:47 AM

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Al-Qaida in Iraq claims deadly Baghdad attack

Al-Qaida's local franchise in Iraq has claimed responsibility for car bombings that killed at least 37 people in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad.

The Associated Press

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Shia being killed mercilessly in Pakistan, Iraq etc. Who will be next. MORE

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BAGHDAD —

Al-Qaida's local franchise in Iraq has claimed responsibility for car bombings that killed at least 37 people in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad.

The U.S. SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant forums, says the Islamic State of Iraq issued a statement on militant websites saying Sunday's attacks came in revenge for alleged criminal acts by the Shiite-led government against Sunnis in the Iraqi capital.

The car bombs that exploded within minutes in outdoor markets also wounded more than 100 people. The attacks came amid rising sectarian discord in the country and appeared aimed at shaking the Iraqis' confidence in the Shiite-led government.

Iraq's al-Qaida branch has staged scores of large-scale attacks against Shiite Muslims, which it considers heretics and accuses of being too closely aligned with neighboring Shiite powerhouse Iran.

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