Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Friday, 9 April 2010 11:39 UK

Al-Qaeda in Iraq group claims embassy bombings

Baghdad blast 4 April 2010
The three explosions were all near diplomatic missions

A militant group linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq has said it was behind Sunday's triple bombings in Baghdad which killed 40 people near foreign embassies.

Islamic State of Iraq said in a statement posted on the internet that it had attacked the Iranian, German, and Egyptian missions.

It said embassies and organisations working with Iraq's government would top its target list.

But it denied involvement in six blasts killing 35 in Shia areas on Tuesday.

The statement regarding Tuesday's attacks, which hit residential buildings, was posted on the internet separately, the monitoring group SITE said.

Sunday's attacks shattered a period of relative calm after last month's parliamentary elections.

'Themed' bombings

The first two bombs went off within about a minute of one another, in Mansour - a fairly smart suburb on the western side of the city, housing many embassies.

The Egyptian, German, Iranian and Syrian missions were all affected by the blasts.

Another minute or so later, a third suicide bomber blew his car up near the Iranian embassy, closer to the city centre.

With security tight around the embassies, many of the dead and injured were people in the nearby streets and buildings.

A number of Iraqi guards working for foreign missions were among those killed. Egypt said several of its staff were wounded by shrapnel.

Spain said its embassy and the adjacent German mission were also damaged.

The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says a series of "themed" multiple bombings have hit Baghdad over the past year, clearly with the aim of conveying the message not only that the insurgents can strike several targets simultaneously, but that they can focus on a particular type of target each time.

In August, October and December last year, they carried out co-ordinated attacks on government ministries, which together killed hundreds of people.

In January, big hotels in central Baghdad were targeted.

The attacks came at a sensitive moment, with politicians embroiled in trying to form a government which all agree should reach out to regional countries, especially Arab states which have been slow to restore full diplomatic ties with Baghdad.

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